A Guest Post by Frank Powell
I grew up in the golden age of boy bands and sitcoms. N’SYNC and Backstreet Boys ruled airwaves. Saved By The Bell, Family Matters, and Boy Meets World ruled TV screens. Glorious times.
But they came and went. Even the best show, movies, etc. operate on borrowed time.
Has the idea of sexual purity gone the way of Family Matters and N’SYNC?
Is it no longer relevant?
Here are 5 very important truths about sexual purity and why we need to consider it.
1.) Virginity is not the win.
Now I have your attention. Look, I do not want to minimize the value of virginity. It is important. But Christians need to re-define the “win.”
You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:27-28
Christians are not “winning” if they arrive at their wedding day free from sex but saturated with lustful thoughts. Church, are we really so misguided to think we are “winning” if we refrain from sex before marriage but can’t look at someone of the opposite sex without turning them into objects?
Sexual purity must begin with a pure heart and mind. If we begin anywhere else, we risk dangerous outcomes. We risk allowing something as noble and righteous as virginity to become an idol. We risk telling a generation of young people that “how far can I go?” scenarios are ok as long as you don’t have sex. And, most importantly, we risk making light of the cross.
Christians need to celebrate virginity. We need to pursue it. But let’s not allow virginity to be the “win.” If we teach that God’s design for sexual purity begins with the heart and mind, virginity will be a natural outpouring.
2.) God IS purity and purity should be important to Christians.
Purity is the essence of God. Purity IS God. And God created us to reflect his image. But when sexual purity takes a backseat in our heart and mind, it is impossible to reflect God’s image to the world.
Sexual purity is not outdated, overstated, culturally irrelevant, or any other catchy phrase. I argue the opposite. In a world where multiple partners and a flippant approach to purity are the norm, God’s plan for sexual purity is more relevant than ever. The world needs to see a different model.
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality…For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 1 Thessalonians 4:3, 7
Take note of the verse above. It says God’s will is to avoid sexual immorality. Wait…what’s God’s will? Reach China? Plant a church?
How about avoid sexual immorality.
Sexual purity sets us apart from the world. Purity is God. Instead of buying cultural lies and trendy sexual mindsets, Christians need to show the world a “new” way to look at sexual purity. A way designed by the Designer.
3.) Sexual purity is not a one-time event.
This is an unfortunate side effect of point 1. And it marginalizes people who believe mistakes prevent them from being accepted by God. Most sermons and lessons send a clear message, “God doesn’t like people who have sex before marriage.” If this is you, I empathize. I heard the message growing up.
And when I made mistakes, the church was not a safe place for me.
Sexual purity is not a single event in time. It is a process of transforming into the likeness of God. Yes, if someone has sex before marriage, virginity will never be reclaimed. And I will say it again: Christians should strive for sexual abstinence before marriage. This is God’s design.
But please understand, God does not give up on us if we make mistakes. He is not wagging his holy finger at us in disgust. And for those marginalized by Christians for sexual mistakes, I apologize. This should never happen. It is not reflective of the gospel.
God loves us infinitely. He has big plans for our life. He wants us to have a great marriage. And most importantly…God forgives us. Completely. No matter how bad we screw up.
4.) Purity is a result of the cross.
There are not enough deeds or donations in the world to buy an ounce of the purity we need.
We all fail when it comes to sexual purity. Thank God for the cross. The cross wipes the slate clean. It gives us the opportunity to stand before God unblemished. It says Jesus now stands in our place.
The cross also means sexual purity is not about us. It is about Jesus. Jesus makes us pure. And the Spirit gives us the power to withstand. We do not become sexually pure by trying with all of our might to withstand the passions and desires of the flesh. It won’t work.
And this is some of us. Every time we turn on that computer, we go back to the same websites. Every time we see the opposite sex, we lust instead of looking at those individuals as God’s creation. And our response to this? Try harder next time. But next time turns into next time. Eventually we get to the point where change seems impossible.
I know. I have been there.
Sexual purity begins with the cross and continues as the Spirit works on our hearts.
5.) Sexual purity requires a lifestyle change.
“Is sexual purity important?” I doubt any follower of Jesus would answer “No.” But our actions reflect something different. Sexual immorality is a theme in almost every movie, TV show, and song. The days of family friendly TV are basically out the window.
Yet, Christians continue to watch movies glorifying sexual immorality and listen to music objectifying men and women created in God’s image. And we wonder why lust and pornography are so prevalent.
Until we start to value purity more than a good time or a few laughs, we will be plagued with lustful minds and impure hearts.
We must have some boundaries. We must practice and pray for self-control.
Purity ultimately is about the cross. But refusing to pursue holiness is an abuse of the cross. Refusing to create boundaries and exercise self-control in the name of entertainment is a mockery to God.
Sexual purity is essential for men and women walking in the footsteps of Jesus.
Purity doesn’t rob us of life. It increases life. When God’s parameters are our parameters, life abounds. I dare you to try it.
Joy also increases because we know our impurity becomes purity through Jesus Christ. Love increases because we know purity is not dependent on our goodness and decisions. And these should catapult us towards holiness.
Purity is the gospel. Purity IS God. For this reason, it needs to be discussed…and pursued.
This is a guest post by Frank Powell. I suggest you check out more of Frank’s stuff at: http://frankpowell.me/