Human sexuality has and will always be the source of great confusion and debate. How are we to understand our sexuality, and how are we to live it out? More to the point, how are we as Christians supposed to live it out? What is permissible? What is forbidden and a sin?
How many of you have heard it said you should not look at a woman (or a man if you are a woman) with lust in your heart, referring to Matt 5:28? In Matt 5:28 Yeshua tells us it is a sin to look at a woman with lust in our hearts; if we do look, we are already guilty of committing adultery with her in our hearts.
In this one verse, Yeshua uses the word adultery. Because He uses the word adultery, we understand He is not referring to human sexuality in general. He is not saying that every single guy and girl who looks with sexual lust at a person of the opposite sex is guilty of committing adultery in their hearts. How do we know this? Because adultery is something, you can only do if you are already married. So because He uses the word adultery we understand in this verse, He is only speaking to married people.
By now, we have established that a single man or woman will not sin if they look with sexual lust on someone of the opposite sex.
How does Matt 5:28 apply to someone who is married? If you are married, you probably know by now your sexuality works just as it used to do when you were still single. Even though you are happily married, and you have no desire to be unfaithful to your spouse, you sometimes get sexually attracted to persons of the opposite sex. Does this mean you are guilty of committing adultery in your heart?
When we look more closely at Matt 5:28, we see that Yeshua is not referring to sexual lust. So what is Yeshua saying?
To understand what Yeshua is referring to here, we need to remember one crucial thing. Yeshua taught us how to obey the Torah (the written law of Moses), so everything He said or did is connected to something in the Torah. If we believe the lie that says He came to do away with the Torah, we cant properly understand His teachings. This is why we have 40 000+ different denominations in the world today. But if we, on the other hand, remember that everything He says connects to the Torah, we can adequately understand His teachings.
The Torah says that when you are legally married, you can’t divorce that person. If you divorce your spouse, you are guilty of adultery. Adultery is a severe sin, and according to the book of Revelation, and 1.Cor, no adulterers will be allowed to enter heaven.
What about the exceptions Yeshua and Paul makes in the Gospels and the letters from Paul when it comes to divorce or remarriage? Everything Yeshua said, taught and did connects to something in the Torah and or the Hebrew culture. In the Hebrew culture, when someone was engaged to be married, they could still call off the engagement if their fiancee had been unfaithful to them. Because of the high value, the Hebrews placed on the engagement; they referred to a broken engagement as divorce. After they had legally become married, it was not permitted to divorce, not even for unfaithfulness. If you did divorce your spouse, for any reason, you would be guilty of adultery. We already know from 1.Cor 11 Paul imitated Christ in everything He did, and Paul never stopped being a Hebrew and a Jew. So we understand Paul would never contradict something Christ said.
This means that if you are divorced, and remarried, you are living in adultery right now. If you are living in adultery, you will not enter heaven when you die. Repent before it is too late for you.
In Matt 5:28, we have already established Yeshua is not referring to sexual lust. Instead, He warns us and says if you are tempted to leave your spouse for another man or woman, you are guilty of adultery in your heart. It does not matter if you have not told anyone about it, Yehovah knows because He sees the secrets of your heart.
The Bible is evident on this; no adulterers will enter heaven. But the Bible also says if we will repent and confess our sins, He will forgive us. (1. John 1:9)
Now we have established that Matt 5:28 is not about sexual lust; it is all about divorce and remarriage. How do we know this? Because Yeshua uses the word adultery and not fornication. You can only be guilty of adultery if you are already married. The Torah shows us how much Yehovah values marriage and how much He hates divorce. When we interpret Yeshua’s words through the Torah, we see that this is Yehovah telling us that He hates divorce so much that we should not even consider the thought. But if we do also feel the temptation to divorce our spouse, and remarry someone else, we are guilty of adultery in our hearts.
So what about sexual lust? What about things like pornography and married people looking with lust on someone who is not their spouse?
Adultery is a sin, and adultery is defined as divorce and remarriage or sex with someone who is not your spouse. Fornication is a sin, and fornication defines as sexual acts outside of marriage. So the Bible is obvious, sex outside of marriage or sex before marriage is and will always be a sin.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say it is a sin to have sexual desire for the opposite sex. What you do with that desire can quickly become a sin if it leads you to adultery or fornication.
To desire, someone of the opposite sex, who is not your spouse, is not adultery, and it is not fornication. That is just the way Yehovah created you, and as you might have seen by now, He did not create an on or off switch on your sexuality. It always stays on, no matter if you are married or single. But you mustn’t allow your sexuality to lead you into fornication or adultery. You are responsible for using it in a way that honors Yehovah and strengthens your righteous living in obedience to the Torah.
So what about pornography or sexual phantasies?
Because we know that the Bible allows us to have a healthy sexual desire for the opposite sex, we are permitted to use pornography and even have sexual phantasies. But we are always told to avoid the temptation to commit adultery or fornication. Pornography and sexual phantasies have the potential to tempt you into fornication and adultery, and if you can’t say for sure you are strong enough to withstand that temptation, then you should not use pornography.
If you can use pornography as a way to live out a healthy sexual appetite for the opposite sex, even though you are married, then it is permissible in the Bible. And of course, it goes without saying; we should always only use pornography depicting righteous sex allowed in the Torah.
How can pornography be helpful in a marriage?
The Torah does not forbid polygamy, even though we live in parts of the world where civil law prohibits it. The Torah does not require a man to take multiple wives, but it has rules and regulations if a man should choose to do so. A man has to be able to provide materially, sexually, emotionally, and financially for all his wives, and if he can’t do so, he should restrict himself to only one wife.
Let me be clear on this: The Torah does not forbid polygamy, but it does not require a man to marry multiple wives. So, in this case, we are to obey civil law, prohibiting polygamy.
But because the Torah allows polygamy, it tells us something about how Yehovah made a man’s sexuality versus a woman’s sexuality.
The Torah allows for a man to have multiple wives, not for a wife to have multiple husbands. Because man was created with the potential to have multiple wives, it is in his nature to be sexually attracted to more than one woman at a time. When woman was created, she was created to belong to only one husband. It is in her nature to be sexually attracted to and committed to only one husband.
So the fundamental difference between the sexes is that women are created to belong to only one husband. This is why, for a woman, it would be unthinkable to use pornography in the marriage. For her, pornography in the marriage would be adultery. Why? Because she was created to be only sexually attracted to her husband.
For most men, the use of pornography is not adultery. They have no desire to be unfaithful to their wives; they have no desire to commit adultery. The use of pornography comes very naturally to them because they were created that way, to have the potential to be married to multiple wives. Even though we live in a society where polygamy is prohibited by law, it does not change man’s sexual nature. So instead of breaking that law, we use pornography, but we have no intention or desire to commit adultery. Pornography becomes the best way for a man to live out his polygamous nature, his masculinity, without sinning in adultery.
Can pornography be harmful or sinful in a marriage?
The Torah says a husband is obligated to care for his wife’s sexual, emotional, material needs. So the husband is the caretaker of her self esteem and her self respect.
When we live in a society that prohibits polygamy, it could be very hurtful for many wives to know that their husband uses pornography. Even though their husbands are acting out the polygamous nature and have no desire to commit adultery, it could still cause significant harm to their wives ‘ self-esteem, self-respect, and security.
If that were to happen, pornography would become very sinful and very harmful.
So do not feel condemned or ashamed for being a heterosexual man or woman. Do not feel ashamed or condemned for being sexually attracted to and even turned on by the opposite sex. You are allowed to be sexually attracted to the opposite sex, even if you are married. And as a man, you are allowed to use pornography in marriage, but you are also responsible for making sure of two things. 1. Do not use it in a way that is hurtful to your wife or that makes her feel less loved, less respected, less sexually attractive. 2. Do not use it if you are struggling with the temptation to commit adultery. All marriages pass through storms and rough seasons where you can be more easily tempted then at other times.
But if you use it the right way, and pornography that depicts righteous sex, then you are not doing anything wrong.