Purity- καθαρός – clean (from Strong’s Greek)
Everyone who has kept their purity, unstained and holy- please stand up.
There are all sorts of great gifts that God, in His wisdom and love to us- as a means of demonstrating His glory and illustrating His pursuit of us- has inserted into our make-up. SEX is one of these great gifts.
If you’re an agnostic or an atheist, those opening few lines probably bother, maybe puzzle, or even infuriate you. Most likely you just stopped reading. The problem with thinking of sex as something more then an appetite of our nature, propelled by anything other then our evolutionary ancestoral species, holds a true dilema. It would have to mean that the point of sex is more then merely our need to satisfy our natural urges, a raging appetite, or merely a need to reproduce our species. Further it would mean that we can’t simply choose when, where, why and with whom we pursue sexual relationship, because it holds something more then sexual satisfaction as it’s primary goal. Further it would mean there must be some level of sexual purity that is expected? When we get to that level we are talking about a moral standard, a morally pure standard.
When we start down the road of moral purity we eventually have to ask , “Who sets the standard?” The top options that we are presented with are our nature, our perceived needs, or some sort of an outside influence (religion, family standards, peer pressure, cultural influence, beliefs, etc). The moral standard you hold will shape or provide answers for such questions like – What relationships will I pursue? When will I know sex is the next level of intimacy in relationship? How far is too far? What importance will sexual relationship hold as a measure of right relationship?
From these two considerations alone, sexual desire and moral standard, I would re-state my original point,
“There are all sorts of great gifts that God, in His wisdom and love to us- as a means of demonstrating His glory and illustrating His pursuit of us- has inserted into our make-up. SEX is one of these great gifts.”
I know, it’s bad form to quote yourself- but let me make the point- These two realities of human relationship (sexual desire and moral standards) demonstrate this to be true -because sex typically brings such confusion when introduced into relationship prematurely (Song of Solomon points this out with poetic force); or when sex is introduced into a relationship it confuses the relationship so that it becomes the central shaping force, also, the fact that our heart breaks so deeply as though we have given away a part of us to another when the sexual relationship is ended. Leaving us with all sorts of feelings of hurt, guilt, shame, regret, or an all consuming appetite for more. All this points to the truth- SEX has been given to us for something more- a greater purpose, a more presdigious place then we, our culture, typically give it, a place of pure enjoyment. If that is true then it has to be enjoyed within the parameters that God sets and not simply as a means to fill our void of loneliness.
NOW THE REAL KICKER:: As an honest Christian (not perfectly honest but trying to be honest to Christian truth) I am forced to admit there is no one who has kept fully sexual and moral purity, except One. This doesn’t mean that sexual purity is not important. This does mean that our purity holds a limited-time value.
Sexual, moral and ethical purity does:
1. Please God, who made us for relationship. Yet He knows the brokenness of our hearts and places boundaries for our greatest protection, and as a means to enjoy His good gift to us.
2. Gives us these boundaries to enjoy freedom. Boundaries in relationship allow for us to get to know each other, to cultivate deep and growing relationships (such as friendship) without being consumed by self-satisfaction, self-gratification and protecting us from simply using each other for self pleasure. When lust leads it does not create it consumes.
3. Lays the ground for true intimacy. True intimacy does not equal nakedness. If you think it does then you have all but doomed yourself to young love. Not the kind of ripened, life-long covenant love that brings confidence and will ultimately result in a deep shaping of hope in your life. Young love only breeds disappointment, a trail of broken relationships, and a ever deepening loneliness.
In these ways purity matters and has a lasting affect on our lives. Yet our own purity holds a limited time value.
To hold up our PURITY as a trophy or as the means of saving our lives, even our marriages, simply won’t hold up.
The truth before God (a Sermon on the Mount kind of truth) is that we have all failed when it comes to purity. This smashes the purity myth that YOU can save yourself for someone as if to save your relationship. You and I cannot be our own Messiah’s. When it comes to purity we need a Saviour we are not the saviour. The purity of our own making that we might possess is not a purity that has an eternal value. The purity that we might possess -moral purity, sexual purity, or ethical purity- is not a purity that we in the end get to cling to as proof of our right standing before God. Nor is it the ultimate saving grace of your relationships. The only purity that we will ever possess that will matter before God is a purity that is given to us, not a purity we have or have earned. It is a purity that was secured for us by another, One outside of ourselves. It’s Christ’s purity. It is an exchange that can only be made by faith at the cross of Jesus- dying for our impurity and offering us His purity. This truth applied is the place of healing for our sexual brokenness. ~that thought will take a longer conversation.
We are made to delight in pure relationship. Ultimately this is fulfilled in us as we learn to delight in God through Christ- this primary place of delight shapes and brings a practiced purity to all the other relationships God has given us to delight in.
Thanks for reading