Help Men (and Women) Fight Porn with the Power of Grace and “Finally Free” (By Heath Lambert)
Let’s look at the numbers:
The porn industry generates $13 billion each year in the US.
Internet porn alone is a $3 Billion per yearbusiness.
980,100,000+: The number of searches for pornography since the start of 2013.
9 out of 10 boys were exposed to pornography before the age of 18.
6 out of 10 girls were exposed to pornography before the age of 18.
The first exposure to pornography among men is 12 years old.
How about in the church:
50% of all Christian men and 20% of all christian women say they are addicted to pornography.
Among pastors 51% say Internet pornography is a possible temptation.
Regular church attendees are 26% less likely to look at porn, however, self-identified “fundamentalists” are 91% more likely to look at porn.
These numbers are staggering.
I know the power of these staggering numbers because I’ve been part of these numbers myself. I’d still be part of those numbers had it not been for the grace and power of Jesus Christ to set me free from such sin.
Which is why I am overjoyed about a new resource for Christians and people in ministry to help people find freedom and release from the bondage of pornography.
It’s called Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace. As the title suggests, Heath Lambert’s new book begins with the foundation of grace. As Heath has counseled countless people over the years “who feel locked in a losing struggle against pornography,” he’s come to realize “They need grace-filled, practically relevant strategies as they seek to flee sexual immorality.” (13-14)
This book is practical and saturated with grace, which is why every ministry leader should pre-order it, own it, and read it, in order to pass it along and minister to people they know who are struggling with this toxic, powerfully binding struggle.
Heath insists that his new resource is not about pornography: “You can find countless books about pornography. They include details about the pornography industry…long discussions about the damage pornography does…spend a lot of time telling people how to think about pornography.” (11)
While the goals of these books are noble, the goal of his book is different. It’s about “the amazing power of Jesus Christ to free you from pornography.” And the good news about this power is that “no matter how intense or how long-standing the struggle, it is the work of Jesus Christ to set people free from such sin.” (12)
What will aid us ministers in helping people find release and freedom from any sin is the foundation upon which Heath builds his book: Grace. There are two important aspects of God’s grace that Heath shows people they can seize in their struggle against porn.
“The first thing you absolutely must know about God’s powerful grace,” Heath says, “is that through grace God forgives our sins.” He quotes Colossians 2:13-14 to describe in shocking terms how we can have the amazing blessings of God’s grace, but at a steep price. Heath helpfully compares this price to a credit card bill—a charge of our legal indebtedness:
Just like we must pay our credit card bills to avoid legal penalties, so the record of our sin debt makes demands on us are legally binding…But here we discover the glorious truth: even though you and I are entirely and solely responsible for our sin debt, God made provisions for the debt himself by nailing that debt to the cross of Christ…Every instance of treasuring images of sexual immorality in our hearts, every eager glance at pornography, all of our lustful gawking—everything—is paid for by Jesus in his death for sinners. (21)
But it doesn’t stop there; the news gets better. “Forgiving grace is only one part of the power Jesus gives. God’s powerful grace also gives us strength to live in new ways. Forgiving grace is wonderful and essential, but sinners need more than forgiveness.” (21)
Heath notes that many people spend lots of time pursuing forgiveness, but they don’t know what to do next. After confessing sin and seeking God’s forgiveness, “you need to pusrue God’s powerful transforming grace by believing the good news and walking in faith and obedience to the gospel. God’s grace pardons you and forgives your sin, and God’s grace empowers you to live differently and be obedient to him.” (22)
Heath’s counsel follows Paul’s, “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ.” (Rom 6:11) Coming alive to Christ, being transformed, happens when we count our “deadness” to be true, when we believe in God’s forgiving grace and claim that power as our own.
For many porn users a way forward beyond the cycles of addiction seem impossible. Heath reminds them and us, however, that “No matter how terrible pornography is, no matter how much trouble you are in, no matter how flimsy and weak your resources are, you are never in a pit so deep that the grace of JEsus cannot lift you out.” (28)
Lots of people in your church need to hear that message. Equip yourself to share it by pre-ordering this crucial new resource to help men and women in your church, small group, and even youth group finally be free.
Jeremy Bouma is a pastor with the Evangelical Covenant Church in West Michigan. He is the founder of THEOKLESIA, a content curator dedicated to helping the 21st century church rediscover the historic Christian faith; holds the Master of Divinity and Master of Theology; and writes about faith, life, and everything in between at www.jeremybouma.com.