Purity, or chastity, is one of those Christian words that the church uses to call Christians to do something difficult and unpopular. Sexual purity is one of the many Christian truths that are at odds with the ethics of our secular culture. It challenges the movies we watch, the magazines and books we read, the websites we visit, the songs we listen to and our actions in all of our relationships. Purity, to most non-believers and even a growing number of Christians, seems curious, strange, backwards or repressed. The definition of purity is usually focused on the dos and donts of what we are supposed to do or not do in our sexuality. However, the why for purity is often misunderstood or even unknown. The heart of God and the love for His people is often left out of the discussion of sexual purity. Today we will look at why God has called all of us to purity, that this is His very best for us, and how to practice and obtain the blessings of a life of purity.
Our need for relationship
God said, It is not good for the man to be alone (Ge 2:18)
Men and women have the need for intimacy, to be known and to know, to be close, to be affirmed and loved. Genuine intimacy in human relationships requires dialogue, transparency, honesty and vulnerability.
Purity protects a relationship, with boundaries in thoughts and actions, to provide a safe environment for openness and intimacy to grow. (Sin is the greatest hindrance to the ability to openly relate to each other.)
Purity focuses our created desires for sexual pleasure only on our spouse.
Purity is an essential to preparing for a healthy marriage.
The Bible repeatedly tells us to pursue purity and abstain from sexual immorality (1Co 6: 12-20; 1Th 4:5; 2Ti 2:22; 1Pe 1:14; 2:11; 1Jn 2:16).
What is sexual purity or chastity? Either marriage, with complete faithfulness to your partner, or else total abstinence. C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Reasons for Purity
1) Purity keeps us free (v12) Sexual sin can enslave us. Online pornography, fantasies, affairs, inappropriate sexual activity of any kind, with ourselves or others, can master over us. When we cant stop we feel trapped and ashamed. Shame keeps us hidden and unable to reach out for help.
2) Purity protects us (v13) Paul says that the body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord. When he uses the word body, it is not just the physical body, but also a persons personality.
Paul wants Christians in his care to avoid porneia (immorality), fornication (sexual intercourse between people not married to each other), adultery, homosexuality, lust and sexual immorality of any kind.
Purity protects our bodies from disease, unwanted pregnancies, abortions, sexual abuse, divorce and broken families, child abuse, molestation, rape.
Purity protects our society, communities, churches, schools.
3) Purity keeps our hearts free from past relationships (v16) In sexual relationships, outside of marriage, we can develop deep bonds with those we are with. Paul quotes from Genesis saying that the two will become one flesh. These bonds can stay with us long after the relationship we were in ceases to exist. (For singles, purity keeps our hearts free for marriage.)
4) Purity helps us to have intimacy with God (vs19-20) Our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit and we belong to the Lord, to be in relationship with Him and to honor Him with our bodies. Sexual sin buries us in shame or hardens our hearts, which hinders us in our relationship with God. People who struggle in this area struggle going to church, reading the Bible, feeling forgiven and are often depressed. We were wired to have intimacy with God - Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God (Mt 5:8).
5) Purity helps us to be faithful Sexual impurity has a spirit of unfaithfulness and selfishness to it. It is about meeting our own needs and desires. We look elsewhere, than our marriages, to get our needs met: other relationships, internet, people we work or go to school with. We are swayed by attraction and feelings rather than commitment to our spouse.
6) Purity teaches self control For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God (1Th 4:3-5). We need to and can develop habits that train and help us have control of our own bodies. This is learning how to live life in the power of the Holy Spirit.
7) Purity protects us from judgment
for fornicators and adulterers God will judge (Heb 13:4). God will first bring discipline in order to cause a person to repent (1Co 5:5), but if repentance does not come this behavior will lead to being disqualified from going to heaven (1Co 6:9, 10; 2Co 12:21; Gal 5:19-21).
How to Live a Pure Life (v18)
Stay close to God How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word (Ps 119:9). We need as much of God as we can get to walk pure in this world. Reading the Word, worship, communion, helping me hate the sin, and instead, building intimacy and relationship with God. We need the power of the Holy Spirit.
Be in Community Life Groups, accountabilty relationships, special classes (Valiant Man), counseling, a brother or sister in Christ who loves and cares for you and is safe to be transparent with. We need to create a setting where we can honestly share our struggles and confess our sins (Jas 5:16).
Purify our Homes home should be a safe place, a place to rest and be at peace. Clean out any media or printed material that causes you to stumble, and filter what is coming in to protect you and your family. Have a plan with TVs, computers, video games, smart phones, Ipads, etc.
Teach our children they need to hear from us about sex, the wonderful created gift it is from God and that it is to be experienced in the committed relationship of marriage. They need to know that Mom and Dad are safe to speak with about their lives. They also need to be warned about the dangers of pornography and people who would want to hurt them. Instill godly values into them and not have the world instill its values.
Repentance and Forgiveness
Sexual sin is not unforgiveable sin!
We have a God who loves us so deeply and wants to save us, not condemn us (Jn 8:1-11).
Wherever we are struggling, Jesus wants to forgive us and set us free.
The Church needs to show love and compassion to help those who are struggling with sin.
The Cross of Jesus Christ is a place for fresh starts and new beginnings.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (Jn 1:9).