Is Masturbation and/or Porn really a sin?

Suppose a person believes in God…and loves him too.  The only thing he has difficulty with is masturbation and viewing porn (nothing else!)  Does that offend God?  Will he not still be loved by God in the same way he loves God? (NOTE:  This is a genuine question asked by a reader that was submitted under “Lust vs. Lies”, but it is so relevant, I have reformatted the question here and placed it under FAQ so more people  will see it.

First, thank you for asking the hard questions. Many people struggle with masturbation and porn but are unwilling to honestly address the issues in light of God’s Word. Our source for answers needs to be the Word of God. That is the only consistent Truth. Society’s view of right and wrong changes with time. It is relative. This is also true in many churches that have certain “standards” of Christian testimony that change with society’s changing views. But not so with God. His standards have been the same for eternity. So let’s consider your questions in light of God’s Word.

I’m going to address your questions in reverse. Let’s look at your question about love. First, God IS love. This is true. But God is not a one-dimensional Being. Scripture actually speaks more about God’s holiness than it does about His love. Does this mean that holiness is more important? No, God is perfect in all His attributes and is 100% love and 100% holy. But people often twist God into a one-dimensional Being and do what they want, suggesting that, because God is love, they will be forgiven. This offends the holiness of God. Jesus said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him” (John 14:21). Genuine love is proven by what love DOES. So when you speak of “his love to god,” what exactly do you mean? Are we talking about his feelings or his actions? True love is confirmed by the action.

You ask “he cannot leave masturbation and seeing porn (nothing else) is it against god????” We typically minimize our wrong behavior – that’s the “nothing else” in your question – and exaggerate our good behavior. This is a really a roundabout way of asking, “In light of all the good things I do, is God going to disapprove of me for this one thing I do wrong?” The Apostle Peter said, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY” (1 Peter 1:14-16). Peter is addressing behavior, just like Jesus did in John 14:21, and he is specifically speaking about lust. Many people, even Christians, question whether or not masturbation is a sin. Again, we need to look at God’s standard. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Jesus countered the standards in His day with, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28). “Lustful intent” is a sinful attitude of the heart. Jesus was saying, ‘it’s not just what you do; it’s what you think that is sinful.’ That’s God’s standard. I have yet to speak to anyone who can say that masturbation is not accompanied by sexual fantasies. And there’s also the problem of what we will become, according to Proverbs 23:7, based on what we think. It’s wrong and misguided to try and justify masturbation as being “normal behavior.” Sadly, we are by nature sinful, so “yes,” sinful behavior is “normal,” so in that sense, masturbation is “normal.” But it is still sinful; it does not please God.

There are several other aspects we could address on this but I think you get my point. As for porn, there are few people who would genuinely argue that it is not sinful, especially based on what Jesus said in Matthew 5. But should that be a question in your mind, simply try to support the idea that you are viewing pictures of sinful behaviors (adultery and fornication) but it is sinful only for the person posing for the pictures…not for the viewer. It’s not logical is it? And if porn is okay, then why not live strip shows? What’s really the difference? Honesty requires that we be consistent.

I don’t perceive a question about the sinfulness of masturbation and pornography, but for others who read this posting, I felt obligated to address it a little more completely.

So what’s the answer? The Psalmist asks, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:9&11). People who struggle with purity also struggle with spending consistent time in the Word of God. Joshua was told in Joshua 1:8 “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” What a fantastic promise! It’s the Word of God that transforms our mind. Paul said in Romans 12:1&2: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” To live in purity, we need to transform our minds to be pure. The Word of God is pure. Peter, who spoke of our being holy, also said in 2 Peter 1: 3-4 “… His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” Apart from the Word of God, we cannot escape lust. Paul says it very clearly in Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”

Finally, believing in God is not the answer. There are different kinds of belief. There is the belief of “knowledge” such as the demons. James says, “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder” (James 2:19). They don’t have saving faith. There is also the belief of conformity, or cultural belief. That’s the one that follows what I have been taught by my family, friends and society or culture. But when any of that changes, so does the belief. It’s transitional or situational, not transformational. God has no grandchildren. True belief must be a transformational, a trusting faith that exemplifies, 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” The true follower of Christ will rejoice in Paul’s statement: “But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesian 4:20-24).

But you can’t fight this battle alone. That’s why we encourage men to get into purity groups and keep each other accountable. This boy needs a strong, Christian man who will encourage him and help keep him be accountable so that he can grow in Christ and put away the things of the sinful flesh.

One Response to Is Masturbation and/or Porn really a sin?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Amazing… I will strive to quit viewing porn and let His light shine through me. Thank you.

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