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Few issues in recent days have seen as little coverage as sex-trafficking. While there is lots of good work being done in this area of ministry, my goal in this article is to articulate a biblical view of mankind with the goal of pointing us towards the Gospel.

Biblical View of Man

God created mankind to dwell in perfect harmony with the Lord. Adam lived in the Garden with uninterrupted and unhurried time to lift up the Lord, to take dominion over the earth, and to enjoy his wife, Eve (Genesis 1-2). Then sin came into the world. Adam was told not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and yet he did so. Through Adam’s sin, mankind now has a sinful nature and are sinners by choice.

Unlike what modern psychology teaches, mankind is not improving, they are only sinning more. Man, instead of choosing to obey God, is bound in slavery to the shackles of his sin. Through the Fall, man—while making many advances in the last century—is still a sinner by nature and by choice. Mankind chooses to rebel against God and to use the gift of technology in inappropriate and ungodly ways.

Man invented the printing press to spread the glories of the Gospel. Now the printing press is used as a tool of secular media and Satan to spread humanism, false religion, and every ill the world now knows. Man created TV and now uses it to watch dirty videos.

Man created movie theaters, and they are now used as a tool for Satan. Man created electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones, and now even this technology is used for Satan. All of this can lead to despair. We may wonder, “Can there be anything done about the sin of mankind?” Yes, there can, but only in the strength that the Holy Spirit provides to God’s people.

God created man in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). Theologians call this the imago Dei. Man was created in the image of God for the explicit purpose of knowing and enjoying Him. The Westminster Shorter Catechism, in Question One, Answer One, says that God created man to glorify Him and enjoy forever.

The Fight against Pornography and Sex-trafficking is One for Human Dignity

The fight against pornography and sex-trafficking is first and foremost an issue of human dignity. Do humans deserve to be worshiped, or is God alone worthy of worship and adoration? When a man chooses to rebel against God, Romans 1 clearly teaches that man will worship what is created rather than the Creator.

You and I live in an overly sexualized world where people feel they can do whatever they want. We live in a feelings based culture. When the objective truth of God’s Word is denied and tossed aside there is only one basis for truth and knowledge, and that is man’s opinion. Our man-centered culture tells us to focus on how we feel and tells us what we can do to improve.

How can a “feel good” culture help people who are struggling with pornography? What hope does a “feel good” culture have to offer to the mother of a child whose child was just taken away and sold into sex-trafficking?

While our culture says to the woman who’s had an abortion that “your rights are all that matter”, the guilt and shame still linger. To the mother whose child was just taken, our culture says, we will do our best to find your child, even though they may never do that. To the feel good culture of our day, our culture says pornography is acceptable, even permissible. “Feel good about yourself and do whatever you want…” is the message our culture loudly proclaims. For example, it’s often thought that there’s nothing wrong with pleasuring yourself even if you’re married—just go ahead and do it. The truth is that our culture offers much, but at the end of the day doesn’t promote anything other than a false gospel which provides no hope for sinners or for broken families.

The Problem of Sex-Trafficking and the Relation to Porn

Sex-trafficking is a very real problem in our day. Often times, children are abducted, taken away from their families. In countries all over the world, including the United States, children are stolen away from their families and sold into bondage. People today don’t realize this, but even in the United States sex slavery is very real and active.

Over the past few years especially I’ve become burdened on the issue of sex-trafficking. I’ve witnessed several friends engage in the good work of rescuing children affected by sex-trafficking. When they come back home to the U.S., they tell me their stories—and, wow, it’s so powerful. It’s amazing to see how God is rescuing precious children, and even whole families from the sex-trafficking industry.

Let’s say you go to a porn website—no, I’m not advocating you go to one, just using an example—and you view the content, and then you feel guilty, as you should. Your conscience is telling you that going to that website is wrong. You are being convicted of your sin by the Holy Spirit. But you’ve become excited by what you saw, so you go back later. What you need to understand next is that you are on the fast track towards addiction. By looking at that pornography website, you are supporting the slavery of men and women, boys, and girls into the bondage of sex slavery.

Now, imagine yourself in a locked room. In that room, you are chained to the wall. You don’t have the key, so you can’t escape the chains that hold you fast. You can’t even move. Day in and day out you are chained there, with no end in sight. You don’t have a window in this room to see anything out of it. You are overwhelmed by hopelessness. The reality is that many people around the world live in such rooms, both physically and spiritually. Spiritually people today live in rooms like this all the time. This is why they are in bondage to sin. Instead of the chains being broken and those people walking in newness of life, many would rather live enslaved to pornography. While many young children live in sex slavery, these people support the sex slavery industry through the pornography industry. The really are one and the same. The porn industry feeds into the sex-trafficking industry. Both industries make billions of dollars each year.

The fight for human dignity in our world is very real. It’s a matter that I believe God takes very seriously. He created us in His image and likeness to reflect His glory to the world. The image of God in man, since the Fall, has been marred by sin. Man is a sinner by nature and choice. Pornography and sex-trafficking are ultimately assaults on the glory of God. God created man to know Him, man rebelled, and thus needed a Savior to die in his place and for his sin. This Savior is Jesus, and He bled and died in the place of sinners. What was once seemingly unthinkable is now possible because of Christ. Christ redeems men—He takes them from the room of bondage and transfers them into the glory of the light. Mankind can only be freed from the slavery of sin by knowing Jesus the Master who frees men from slavery through His death, burial, and resurrection.

We live in a dark world. People today, if they were to understand how dark and evil our world is, would fall into despair very easily. Many people who understand how dark and evil our world is have fallen into despair, discouragement, and depression. It’s a sad place out there, with people hurting others, murdering people, and taking them captive for their own pleasure. This is ultimately what pornography does, it takes and takes, and takes. Sex-trafficking does the same, it takes, it takes, and it takes until at last there is nothing to take from this person and they take from another. The process continues on. We live in a consumer culture and this is multiplied a thousand times over in the sex-trafficking and pornography worlds.

The Gospel is the Cure

The Gospel is good news in the midst of a feel good consumeristic culture. While people today want everything immediately, God often calls His people to wait. He doesn’t promise a bed of roses. Instead, He says that in this world there will be tribulation (John 16:33).

Those working in the areas of sex-trafficking and helping pornography addicts come out of an addiction know this well. The war that wages for the souls of mankind is very real. Paul talked about this in Ephesians 6:11-18. We are to gird ourselves up for battle as soldiers and to take our own sin seriously. While we are saved from sin and to Jesus, we are to still actively put our own sin to death before we minister to others. We are not to live how we want as Christians. Instead, we are to point others to the One who brings true satisfaction and pleasures forevermore.

As a child, I loved going to the ocean. My family and I would go to the beach in Oregon and enjoy our time there. My brothers and I would race go-carts and they had these bikes called banana bikes you could ride on the beach. I loved going to the beach. As a teenager, I fell in love quickly with golf for much the same reason as I loved going to the beach. I loved being outside, spending time in God’s creation. I also loved the athleticism of golf. While I haven’t been back to the beach for a long time now, I continue to play golf. I love going and playing golf with my friends. During my high school years, golf was an idol for me. I spend all my time, effort, and ability on getting better. I thought I could go professional. My identity, worth, and value were wrapped up in my ability to play a good round at tournaments. Sadly I often failed. Golf was a poor idol. My own worst enemy wasn’t golf, it was Dave Jenkins.

You see while I pursued pleasure for pleasure’s sake, God desires that His people seek pleasures forevermore in Him. Instead of living in slavery like the imaginary room I mentioned earlier, God has unshackled His people. They are no longer slaves and servants to Satan and his minions. Instead, God’s people have been freed by the King to proclaim the acceptable time and season of the Lord in the Gospel. God is for freedom. He is for taking captives and turning their lives around, inside out and using them in a powerful way.

Perhaps today you are a captive. You never saw yourself enslaved and ensnared by sin. Perhaps you even support an addiction to pornography by viewing it on one of your devices. Perhaps you are a producer of pornography. Or perhaps you are a sex-trafficking victim or a trafficker of children yourself.

Wherever you are today there is hope and freedom for you. Like you, I’m my own worst enemy—I deserve hell and damnation but God says otherwise. Instead of enslavement and domination, Jesus desires to set the captives free. He longs to redeem those who are stuck in the muck and mire of sin, like the Prodigal Son who gave away his inheritance only to find out that his true riches were his family. As Christians, we have a true family, and we have a Heavenly Father who loves us.

Final Thoughts…

Today I want to close by urging you in three ways to get involved in the sex-trafficking industry. First, pray for those enslaved to pornography and engaged in the sex-trafficking industry. We have a High Priest in Jesus who in every way understands what we are going through. Yet, He is also unlike us in that He never sinned. As Christians, we can come boldly before the throne of God’s grace. Let’s get serious about praying for those enslaved in the pornography and sex-trafficking industries. Let’s pray for those engaging in producing pornography and in trafficking people that they will lose their taste for this work. Let’s pray the Holy Spirit will open their eyes to the glory of Jesus. Let’s pray that Jesus puts people in their path to share Christ with them.

Second, get involved and speak up. Now that we’ve talked about the issue of human dignity and sex-trafficking in this issue, you have an obligation to speak up. It’s not enough to learn about this issue and be silent. Instead, I pray that the Spirit would bring conviction to your heart and convince you that you need to speak on this issue. Don’t just read this issue and then put it down. Instead, as you finish this issue find other good resources like from Tiny Hands International among others and learn more about it so you can raise your voice against the injustice of pornography.

Third, faithfully proclaim the Gospel. As Christians, we’ve been saved from sin and to Jesus. We have been given the mandate to fulfill from our Commander and Lord Jesus Christ in the Great Commission. While there is much work to be done, we must preach the Gospel first and foremost, and keep the main thing the main thing. We must plead with sinners about the glories of Christ. We must call Christ followers to be laborers in the harvest field.

Let’s you and me as God’s people commit to preaching the Gospel. Let’s commit afresh to the work of discipleship and the work of the local church. The fight we face is against a real, but vanquished, foe in Satan. Let’s proclaim the Kingship of Jesus and rejoice as God opens eyes, calls people to Himself, and uses them in powerful ways, all for the glory of His name.

This article first appeared in the July 2016 issue of Theology for Life. To download this issue please click here.