The Hidden Danger of Covenant Eyes: It’s Not the Gospel

This article was originally posted at my site. Only some of my articles are posted on SBC Voices. If you would like access to all of my articles, you can follow my feed here. You can also connect with me on TwitterFacebook, and Google+.

Covenant Eyes is a software program that automatically blocks inappropriate sites on your computer and/or monitors Internet use and sends a report to the person you designate. The goal is either to protect one’s children from various evils they may stumble upon on the Internet or to protect oneself from unwanted temptation.  Let me begin by saying this article is not against Covenant Eyes.  I’m in favor of Covenant Eyes, if it’s used correctly.  My main contention is that Covenant Eyes is not the gospel; it is not the answer for the sin problem.  It therefore must be used as an avenue through which to further depend on the gospel, not as a gospel substitute.

The problem I see with those who use Covenant Eyes to avoid unwanted temptation is that it frees men and women to think that the problem is outside of them.  “If I can just keep those nude pictures or videos away from me, I won’t commit adultery.”  The problem is if you blame everyone else for your adultery, you may never deal with the root of your wickedness: your heart (Jer. 17:9).  Eventually, because you live in a wicked world, you will be faced with some form of adulterous temptation.  How will you respond then?

If you previously thought the problem was outside of you, then when faced with sexual temptation, you will probably fail sexually.  Desiring sexual, emotional, etc. fulfillment outside of one’s spouse is not a “natural” desire.  Adulterous desire period is not a “necessary evil” that you and I must embrace as absolute.  On the contrary, adulterous desire is a result of the fall.  It’s not one of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:18-25), and therefore, should not be viewed as an “assumed reality for Christians.”  You and I should be able to work, fellowship, etc. with attractive men or women without adulterous desire: sin.  We must constantly put to death the adulterous desire in our hearts.

Here’s a test to see if you have dealt with your wicked heart. For men, what if the most beautiful woman you can think of stopped by your office and propositioned you?  How would you respond?  For women, what if a very handsome man from your favorite romantic movie began pursuing you the way he pursued the woman in the movie, would you commit adultery?  I realize we cannot answer these hypothetical situations absolutely, but we can make an educated guess concerning our response.  Have you dealt with your wicked heart?

It’s not enough for Christians to try to keep evil away from them.  We must necessarily kill the sin in our hearts. We must put it to death (Rom. 8:13), instead of merely lulling it to sleep by trying to starve it.  As soon as you near an attractive woman or a man who shows interest, your flesh will awake from sleep and kill you.  “Be killing sin or it will be killing you” (John Owen).  If you’re a man or woman on an island with your spouse, you may remain outwardly faithful to your spouse, but your mind may be saturated with evil, adulterous desire, and all you need is an opportunity.  Christians, however, should be holy, and thus, more than just one opportunity away from sinful failure.

So, how should Christians use Covenant Eyes?  Christians should use Covenant Eyes while depending on the gospel alone to save and sanctify them (Eph. 2:8-9).  In other words, Christians should use Covenant Eyes, not to save or sanctify them from adultery or adulterous desire, but rather for the purpose of protecting themselves from seeing another human being who doesn’t realize his or her value.

Pornography is dehumanizing due to its glorification of the sexual availability of humans outside of marriage, and its portrayal of human sexual availability as the end-all and be-all of humanity. Humans, being created in God’s image are so much more valuable than their sexual availability and the perverted twisting of this God-given gift known as sexuality (Gen. 1:26-28). Thus, if you are able to keep yourself from seeing someone other than your spouse in a sexual situation, then you should do so.  After all, what right do you have to see someone other than your spouse in a sexual situation?  You don’t have this right. You should block these images and videos if at all possible, not because you desire adultery, but because you desire sexual holiness: seeing only your spouse in a sexual situation.  

In other words, because you have been and are being changed by the gospel, you must live a life wholly devoted to the Lord (2 Cor. 5:14-21).  Because of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, you belong to His kingdom through faith alone, and thus, you are expected to view humanity as created in God’s image for His glory (Gen. 1-2). Covenant Eyes will only help you accomplish this if you use it to reveal the gospel transformation inside of your heart, namely that you value humanity as God’s Word says you should. The sinful way to use Covenant Eyes is for the purpose of hiding your gospel-less value of humanity as less than God’s image bearers.  

To summarize, if you use Covenant Eyes while still rejecting God’s definition of humanity, you may be headed to hell with Covenant Eyes installed on your computer.  The gospel alone saves you, and you must make sure that your trust is in Christ alone for your salvation.  The problem with you is not that porn exists; the problem is that you desire to look at porn.  You don’t need protection from porn as if it will overtake you, you need saving from your desire to believe the truth-claim porn portrays: namely that the sexual availability of humanity is the end-all and be-all of humanity, not mirroring God in His world through Christ’s finished work and the Holy Spirit’s power through the Word of God (Gen. 1:26-28; John 14:6; 1 Cor. 2:12-14).  Any man or woman who believes God’s definition of humanity continually and consistently cannot desire or look at porn.  So, use Covenant Eyes because the gospel has transformed your heart to agree with God’s value of humanity, not because you desire adultery and sexual immorality, and believe Covenant Eyes will save you from adultery and sexual immorality.

How will you use Covenant Eyes and other software programs like it . . . as the gospel, the answer for your adulterous desire, or as an avenue through which to further depend on the gospel?

BTW: If it’s not happening already, I hope that one day a Christian will apply the above biblical principles and attack the porn industry somehow with the gospel.  If Christian men and women however desire adultery, the porn industry will never be eradicated with the gospel.  We’ll never get close enough with the gospel to eradicate it.

What are your thoughts?

This article was originally posted at my site. Only some of my articles are posted on SBC Voices. If you would like access to all of my articles, you can follow my feed here. You can also connect with me on TwitterFacebook, and Google+.


  1. Tom Bryant says

    I think you’re correct. If we don’t deal with the sin in our own hearts, we will ultimately find a way around the protections like Covenant Eyes we have put in place.

    Good post!

  2. cb scott says

    “…use Covenant Eyes because the gospel has transformed your heart to agree with God’s value of humanity, …”

    Excellent statement.

  3. says

    If you think you have a problem with porn (and I do not minimize that evil), just consider why Americans have become so sexualized. Consider, for example, subliminal seduction techniques in advertising like sexual images hid in retouched photos of goods, images that appeal to base desires, implying that one will find pleasurable fulfillment in consuming some product. Or there is the fulfilling of a death wish by the inclusion of the word death in a cigarette ad. There are the floating figures of wild animals such as the drunkard sees in his d.ts., one of the best selling whiskey ads in the 60s with a shot glass and no whiskey just some ice cubes, a retouched photo, which a scholar subjected to close study and found the floating figures. And there is more. We need not just a revival, but an awakening of all of society in order to counter what our advertising industry has done to the whole of existence, subverting and perverting everything from its original purpose.

    • cb scott says


      You stated “Americans have become sexualized.” Obviously that is true. Do you think that such sexualization of our culture is a contributor to the lack of proper ethical and moral conduct among the administrations of institutions such as Penn State, Syracuse, religious entities, (even our own), etc. in relation to reports of sexual abuse among their ranks?

  4. Christiane says

    Self-control is nourished by the full recognition of the equal dignity of all human persons. And by the knowledge that the source of that dignity derives from the fact that all people are made in the image of God and have been gifted by Him with a soul.

    • says

      I was going to say something similar. I think you are hitting on the right idea here, Christiane.

      With regard to how we view other people through the lens of the gospel, it is the same as saying that we must view other people as God views them. As sinners, we need a savior. For anyone we would sinfully think of as objects for our lust, God loves them enough to give His life for them and call them to something better. Inasmuch as we are called into the Body of Christ as ambassadors charged with making disciples, would we love the people in those images enough to sacrifice our lives to bring them into the kingdom and invest in their discipleship? Start truly thinking that way and you’ll be deeply saddened by their sinful exhibition enough to look away.

  5. says

    I really agree with what you have written. Avoiding looking at porn on the computer without changing the state of our hearts is deception at its worst.

    I have Covenant Eyes installed on our computers, because both my husband and I struggled with looking at porn a few years ago. What set me free was not Covenant Eyes, but looking at the state of my heart and realizing what was there. My actions were sinful, because my heart was filled with lust and a desire to find fulfillment outside of Jesus.

    Since dealing with my heart, I have been set free. :) Covenant Eyes is something that we still have on our computer, because it serves (to me) as a reminder to guard my heart at all times. I cannot always control what I see (I cannot carry Covenant Eyes around with me as a filter when I go out in public!), so it is ultimately my responsibility to make sure that I’m guarding my heart and trusting in Jesus to fulfill me instead of sensual, sinful desires.