3 Gospel Principles for Battling Porn Addiction

This is a really great article/video from three incredible men of God: John Piper, D.A. Carson, and Tim Keller talking about how we can effectively use the Gospel to help us fight pornography addiction in a successful way. Enjoy!


The pursuit of purity is not about the suppression of lust, but about the reorientation of one’s life to a larger goal. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I can vividly remember the fear that gripped my life a decade ago when I was battling porn addiction. I remember the long nights binging on porn on my computer, tucking myself away in remote corners of a public library to download hardcore videos, driving to porn shops to buy DVDs, calling phone-sex hotlines—my life felt out of control.

I did all of this while professing to be a believer in Christ and while working as a minister of the gospel. The double life was as hypocritical as it was frightening.

Since those days, I’ve spoken to hundreds of individual Christians who have told me similar stories. And the question I’ve asked myself over and over again is this: How is it that so many believers in Christ can be gripped by a sin so powerfully?

Going Deeper into the Gospel

It is fair question to ask these people, “Do you believe you are authentically born again? If you are so strongly gripped by sin, perhaps this is evidence that you are still a slave to sin. Perhaps the Holy Spirit has yet to really transform you.”

I say this is a fair question because all Christians—gripped by porn or not—are called to test the authenticity of their faith. “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith,” Paul writes (2 Corinthians 13:5). Peter also writes, “Be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election” (2 Peter 1:10).

Regardless of whether you are a pretend-Christian or an authentically saved person battling porn addiction, the way out is the same. For both, the way to overcome the power of sin is through faith in the gospel.

The gospel of Christ is not merely a message we initially believe to be saved from the guilt of sin; it is a message we embrace in order to be saved from the grip of sin.

The Gospel of Costly Grace

Below is a video conversation of three noteworthy church leaders today: D.A. Carson, Tim Keller, and John Piper. Here they talk candidly about how the gospel sets someone free from the grip of pornography.

John Piper’s question is the core of the conversation: How does the biblical gospel help someone ensnared in lust?

They talk about the message of “costly grace”: costly because it cost the Son of God His life, and gracebecause God’s favor is so freely given to unworthy sinners. They talk about three ways this gospel of costly grace brings about lasting change.

1. The gospel reveals the wrath of God against lust.

John Piper points out Jesus’ words from Matthew 5:27-30. “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell” (Matthew 5:29). God detests lust so much, we deserve hellfire for engaging in it.

Tim Keller points out the enormous price Christ paid for our lust changes the way we see our sin: it exposes pornography as something repugnant.

The point is this: the more deeply we internalize the gospel, the more we will see the ugliness of our sin for what it is. The more we meditate on what Jesus endured on the cross—the curse of God—the more we will loathe our sin. The more we think about the mysterious rift between God the Father and God the Son experienced at the cross—”My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”—the more we will sink under the thought of our sin.

It is then that we we can echo what John Calvin wrote, “When we behold the disfigurement of the Son of God, when we find ourselves appalled by His marred appearance, we need to reckon afresh that it is upon ourselves we gaze, for He stood in our place.”

2. The gospel reveals the love of God for sexually broken people.

Tim Keller rightly says many people rush to the false intimacy of pornography because they hate themselves; they are consoling themselves on a parody of real love. In the fantasy world of porn, men and women are looking for refuge, relationship, reward, and redemption.

The more the porn-enslaved person embraces the gospel, the more they realize that the very things they are sinfully seeking in pornography are actually found in God. Porn makes false promises that offer to satisfy the soul, but only God makes promises that deliver true satisfaction.

This is experienced, again, in the gospel of costly grace. The more we meditate on the face of Christ and see in Him God’s ruthless pursuit of reckless sinners, the more we can be satisfied in that love.

3. The gospel places us into a new community.

D.A. Carson mentions how essential brother-to-brother accountability can be when it comes to pornography.

It is important to note that accountability is not a second-best or a crutch for those who are “really screwed up.” Accountability is not a last resort; is is a lifestyle. Biblical accountability is one of God’s ordinary means to help us remember the gospel of costly grace and apply that gospel to our persistent sins.

What is accountability? It includes, of course, a regular willingness to confess your sins to another believer (James 5:16), but it is more than this. It is also a willingness to receive gospel-centered encouragement. It is the regular practice of stirring up one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24-25), encouraging each other so sin doesn’t deceive us (Hebrews 3:13), edifying each other (Romans 14:19), and bearing each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2).

My Interview with Audrey Assad on Female Porn Addiction

audreyassad-6659Check out this really great interview between Matt Fradd and Christian contemporary artist, Audrey Assad…

Audrey contributed her story to my new book, Delivered, of having once been hooked on porn as a young woman and then, later, by God’s grace, finding hope and healing.

We recently shot some emails back and forth on the topic of female porn addiction.

Oh, and for those of you who have not yet heard of Audrey Assad . . . Buckle up!

Right? Check out her site!

Here’s our interview. We’d love to hear your feedback!

Matt: Audrey, on a scale from 1 to stepping on lego barefoot, how much does it hurt you when you hear someone say, “girls don’t struggle with porn. Porn is a guy’s issue.”

Audrey: It’s certainly a little stab to my heart when I overhear something like that, especially when it’s spoken from a platform. Whenever I heard this as a teenager it isolated me even more in my battle against pornography addiction, because it reinforced my assumption that I should never tell anyone about it.

I thought that I was the only woman in the world going through it—and this was Satan’s greatest foothold in my heart and mind while I was in bondage to pornography.

As long as I thought I couldn’t tell anyone, it was virtually impossible for me to experience deliverance.
Hearing things like this from the platform of ministry only reinforced the deception.

Matt: I know you’ve had the opportunity to share your story of porn addiction and recovery with young women all over the country. What’s their reaction?

Audrey: It’s pretty incredible how many girls will share the truth about their addictions with you if you just speak up about yours.

A few years back I spoke at a conference for high-school students and shared (briefly) my testimony at a girls’ session; and then for the rest of the week girl after girl pulled me aside to share that she was battling pornography addiction.

I probably talked to fifty girls. And their youth leaders were pulling me aside as well–some to share their own struggles and some telling me about their uncertainty about what to do with the students who had suddenly been confessing to them. One told me that a girl in her group shared that she’d been compulsively viewing pornography since the age of eight.

It’s a lot more common than anyone would like to believe, and the sooner we learn how to address it, the sooner more and more young women can find freedom in community.

Matt: What three things would you recommend to a woman struggling with porn who may be reading this?

Audrey: I’d recommend confession first: whether you’re Catholic or Protestant, speaking your sins aloud to someone you trust is the surest way to begin to confront them, and then to walk away from them.

Secondly, accountability: pick several people in your life (probably of your same gender, unless you’re choosing your brother or your dad) who know you well and who don’t judge you for your sins, but who care enough about you to hold you accountable to what you are attempting to do.

Thirdly, counseling: pornography feeds on what is, deep-down, a good and innocent need—the need for intimacy, for love, and for affection. Most often when someone is addicted to pornography, the foothold of the enemy is to warp and twist those natural, God-given needs and desires. A good counselor can help you unravel the spiritual and emotional reasons those needs and desires are being preyed on, and help you develop healthy ways to meet those needs at your stage in life and in your state in life.

Matt: Thanks for your time, and thanks again for contributing to the new book!

Source: Matt Fradd

Episode 94: T.C. Ryan, author of “Ashamed No More” Pt.2

BC_TCRyan_bioThis week on the podcast, I continue the conversation with author T.C. Ryan who’s written a book called “Ashamed No More: A Pastor’s Journey Through Sex Addiction”. Dr. Ryan shares some incredible insights about his dark days struggling through a sexual addiction while also working as a professional minister.  How does a pastor find freedom and healing from pornography and other sexual addictions? Find out in pt.1 & pt.2 of this fantastic conversation. You can find out more information about Dr. T.C. Ryan by going to his website. (audio & video below)

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Episode 93: T.C. Ryan, author of “Ashamed No More” Pt.1

BC_TCRyan_bioThis week on the podcast, I have the honor & privilege of speaking with author T.C. Ryan who’s written a book called “Ashamed No More: A Pastor’s Journey Through Sex Addiction”. Dr. Ryan shares some incredible insights about his dark days struggling through a sexual addiction while also working as a professional minister.  How does a pastor find freedom and healing from pornography and other sexual addictions? Find out in pt.1 & pt.2 of this fantastic conversation. You can find out more information about Dr. T.C. Ryan by going to his website. (audio & video below)

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