The Expository Files

Adulterous Eyes

There are some people the Bible describes as extremely wicked. They live "in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh  and of the mind" (Eph. 2:3). They learn to love the baser desires and derive sensual pleasure through lusting after impure behavior. Peter said they "walk after the flesh in the lust of defilement," (2 Pet. 2:10). They are either captured by lust that results in defilement, or they crave and enjoy living a depraved lifestyle. What a sordid desire!

Of these, Peter said their eyes are "full of adultery and they cannot cease from sinning" (2 Pet. 2:14). A marginal reading has "the eyes of an adulteress." The "eyes of an adulteress" are those of a corrupt and defiled person whose life is one of lust and  licentiousness. Dr. N. M. Williams remarked, "Not any given woman can be meant, but the singular stands as the representative of a class. So impure are the heretics that their eyes, so to speak, are filled with an adulteress. They can see nothing else. An adulteress is pictured on the retina -- that is, their association of ideas and feelings is habitually lustful." (An American  Commentary on the New Testament, Volume VI, page 100.)

The eyes of the defiled deteriorate into an addiction that craves looking at filthy and sexual corruption. This is precisely why the porn industry around the world brings in uncountable billions of dollars every month. Would you believe that General Motors, via its subsidiary, DirectTV, sells vast amounts of porn? The New York Times reported, "GM sells more graphic sex films every year than does Larry Flynt, owner of the Hustler empire." I read recently that the communications giants such as AT&T, NewsCorp, and AOL Time Warner make more profit peddling porn than Playboy does. Hotels and motels owned by Hilton, Marriot, and other famous names are into pornography big time. These giant "respectable" corporations are feeding the addiction to filth in the same way the local crack dealer sells to his addictive clientele.

These moral degenerates "cannot cease from sin." They are hooked, addicted. This is as much an addiction as is alcoholism, illegal drugs, and tobacco. Dr. Gary Brooks calls it "The Centerfold Syndrome." A man gets hooked on looking at naked bodies of the opposite sex -- or sometimes the same sex. He says, "A man gets into the habit of staring at bodies, not developing a relationship." His habit becomes an addiction that leads him down the ugly path to spiritual ruin.

Jesus said the eye is the lamp that provides the light of the body. "The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore thine eye be single, thy body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is the darkness!" (Matt. 6:22-23). What we see either in pictures or printed text can be either good or evil, a good light or a dark one. When the body if full of darkness there is full addiction to lust that leads a man into sexual sin.

Please read the following from the late John A. Broadus under the heading of "Licentious Looks":

How much of grievous sin is committed in this respect before him who perfectly sees the heart, and to whom impurity in the heart is as real a sin as gross acts of unchastity. Many a one would boast, like the Pharisee in the parable, of being no adulterer (Luke l8:11), who yet has often committed adultery in the heart; and God has seen it. The principle of our Lord's teaching alike forbids anything else by which men en­courage lustful feeling, as looking for that purpose at works of art, indecent dances, reading, speaking, or hearing obscene stories or obscene jests, filthy imaginations, etc.

One can hardly turn on a television without even inadvertently being exposed to something that tends to excite prurient desires. Someone well remarked, "It's almost impossible to completely avoid all streets, stores, malls, and airports that have magazine stands with porn. And if you travel much, it's hard to avoid staying in motels where temptation is as close as the TV remote."

Giving in to the temptation to look at things that could easily excite lust is the first step in being tempted with evil. It is not a sin to be tempted with evil; it is a sin to let it lead you to sin (James 1:13-15). "Abstain from every form of evil" (1 Thess. 5:21). In the King James, the passage has "abstain from the very appearance of evil." I recall some understanding this as "the very first time evil comes before you." While that is not what the passage says, who can argue with the wisdom of it?

Martin Luther once said, "You can't prevent the devil from shooting arrows of evil thoughts into your heart; but take care that you do not let such arrows stick fast and grow there. Do as a good old man of past times has said: `I can't prevent a bird from flying over my head, but can prevent him from making a nest in my hair'."

Addiction to the reading, relating or viewing things that lead one into lustful defilement has become a problem. The Lord's church is not immune from this evil and wicked practice. Otherwise good Christians are viewing pornographic films at home, reading salacious literature, and sometimes attending filthy movies at the cinema. That which is erroneously called "music" with down right filthy language or suggestive themes is being allowed in some homes. This is a grave danger.

Allowing just a little pornographic or salacious materials to be viewed, read or heard is dangerous. Sin begets sin and prurient desires beget more and deeper lust. Jesus said one who sins is the "bondservant to sin" (John 8:34). Those who do not resist the normal inclination that allows filth to influence thinking, receive the first installment in selling out to sinful slavery -- addiction.

This addiction is dangerously destructive! It destroys the normal relationship in marriage. A husband who would rather stay up all hours of the night lusting in front of a computer screen full of pornographic images than be with a loving wife in a happy and fruitful fulfilling of true love is perverted! He will destroy his marriage.

A husband's addiction to pornography is devastating to a wife. A wife feels deeply wounded in her soul to know her husband prefers visual stimulation and sinful satisfaction rather than a normal husband/wife relation. One such wounded woman remarked, "How can I compete with hundreds of anonymous others who are now in our bed, in his head? Our bed is crowded with strangers, where once we were intimate."

This kind of sinful addiction has led to rape and murder by those who attempt to act out the filth and corruption they see or read. No matter what the purveyors of this kind of filth deny; the facts remain firm. Some men have become so sexually stimulated and inflamed with passion from viewing pornography they have committed unspeakable crimes against children. Don't be deluded into thinking it doesn't happen.

I have no quick fix for those whose lives have become corrupt to the extent described by Peter. The only fix possible is  conversion, change, repentance, and appealing to God, in his vast mercy and grace, for help to overcome this hideous power that engulfs so many lives. "Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us in time of need" (Heb. 4:16).

By Dudley Ross Spears
From Expository Files 10.7; July 2003