John Piper: Lust Dishonors the Object and Disregards God

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There is little dispute that pornography is a problem in society and in the church.

Various international studies have put porn consumption rates at 50 percent to 99 percent among men, and 30 percent to 86 percent among women.  

Some research claims pornography is addictive, which would be one school of thought regarding its widespread use.  

Lust is Sexual Desire Gone Wrong

John Piper disagrees.

He sees a much deeper and more serious problem.  According to Piper not all sexual desire is lust.  But lust is sexual desire gone wrong.  It dishonors the object and disregards God.

The pastor bluntly states in this video, “No one is absolutely addicted to pornography” or any other sexual sin.

He offers two examples to prove his point.  

He asks, if an ISIS member threatened to kill a loved one if you looked at a pornographic image on your computer you wouldn’t do it, would you?

Or if someone offered you a million dollars if you refrained from pornography, you would comply.

In both cases you would say no to pornography to save a loved one or gain a fortune.

Piper says while addiction is a relative term he has no problem claiming that 99 percent of those who give way to sexual sin are not controlled by sexual desire but by what they believe.

Referencing Philippians 2:12, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” Piper emphatically states, “work out your salvation” means “control your sins for the Holy Spirit is controlling them through you.”

Piper tells us that the Holy Spirit reveals to the believer the beauty of Christ to our souls as supremely beautiful and supremely satisfying.

It is on this point where giving way to sexual sin should be very frightening to the believer. Controlling our desires for money or for a relationship but not for God suggests our true beliefs are in the things of this world, not in our creator.  Or as Piper puts it, “One million dollars is refuse compared to the beauties of Christ.”

And the theologian takes that thought one step further adding, “The all satisfying beauties of Christ can be lost forever in our lust or they can be enjoyed forever in the purity of heart.”

That is why Matthew told us in Matthew 18:9 “And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.”

Piper asks us to take stock of what we believe.  Do your beliefs lie in the temporal satisfactions of the flesh or the eternal beauties of Christ?

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Bob Ditmer
Bob Ditmer has worked in Christian media for more than 20 years including positions with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and Focus on the Family.