Note from Jeff Shaw, founder of Out of Darkness: John Glisson is the founder and director of The Purity Report. I had the privilege of meeting with John recently and talking with him about his war on pornography. He offered some profound insights on what Scripture has to say about grace and godliness. I think you will be blessed immensely by his wisdom.
Just Say No – Part 1
By John Glisson
In the 1980’s, a campaign was launched by the First Lady, Nancy Reagan. It was called the “Just Say No” campaign, which was the battle cry of the U.S. “War on Drugs.” The major thrust was to educate Americans so that when the temptation to use drugs came along, they would “Just Say No!” The campaign had mixed results, and met with a lot of criticism. The criticism worsened when the “Just Say No” campaign was extended beyond drugs to violence and premarital sex.
This same sentiment is carried today by many Christians regarding pornography. If someone is struggling with pornography or sexual sin, the prescription often given is the struggler should just, “Stop it!” This advice, or lack thereof, leaves someone who is significantly trapped in an addiction to a powerful substance – their own brain chemicals released during porn use and orgasm, without practical counsel.
The perspective that those who struggle should, “Just stop it!” ignores clear biblical principles regarding sin, and how freedom from sin is secured and maintained in Jesus Christ.
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It [grace] teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” – Titus 2:11-12 (NIV)
First and foremost, we need to understand that the power to say, “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions is not a simple force of will. It is instead a matter of grace. God offers his incredible grace, which teaches us to say, “No.” The ESV renders this phrase “teaches us to say no…” as “trains us to renounce…” The connotation is that a process of learning is involved as we are trained in our ability to resist the temptation to ungodly behavior and indulge in worldly passions.
But there is more…
The grace of God does not stop with simply enabling us to eliminate unwanted sinful behavior. Rather, it goes much further to empower us to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives! The picture here is not a life characterized by the constant struggle against sin, but instead a life marked by the freedom to control ourselves, walking in uprightness and godliness in the present.
So what gives? What makes it so hard to live in this grace that scripture promises so abundantly? If grace is what trains us to live an upright and godly life, how do I obtain that grace? Stay tuned for Part 2!