THE PRINCIPLE OF SEXUAL PURITY

We are surrounded in our society with a pervasive preoccupation with sex. It is impossible to escape this exposure. In this context it is imperative for the Christian to both know and submit to the biblical principle of sexual purity.

God’s demand for sexual purity is based on the two foundational biblical truths of creation in God's image and salvation through the death of Jesus Christ.

We were created to image God. We are far more than physical beings. We are certainly far more than our sexual identity. We are not to see ourselves and other people as sex-objects. Our identity, our purpose, our God-planned goal is God’s glory. Our whole life takes its meaning from him. Our whole life is centred on him. He, the eternal Spirit, has also set eternity in human hearts [Ecclesiastes 3:11].

Because of salvation we are his blood-bought [2Corinthians 6:20] and precious treasure.  We, including our bodies, belong to the Lord, not to ourselves [6:13]. We, including our bodies, are destined for a glorious eternity [6:14]. Our bodies are actually ‘members of Christ’ [6:15]. We are united to the Lord and one with him in spirit [6:17]. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit [6:19] who dwells in us as God’s gift to us. In the light of this incredible salvation sexual impurity is completely out of place, completely incongruous [6:12,13, 15-16, 18-19]. The only sexual choice that is open to Christians is the choice to honour God with our bodies [6:20] on the path of sexual purity.

Where it hits the ground in our everyday choices this principle of sexual purity translates into the biblical choices listed below. We need to deliberately commit ourselves to these four choices as our foundational choices in all sexual matters, and to constantly deliberately apply these four biblical choices at each point of sexual decision.

Biblical Choice #1: Say no to sexual sins. [Exodus 20:14]. There are actions and attitudes that God calls sin, that our contemporary culture considers normal and right. We need to take God’s word, the Bible, as our standard, not the view of our peers. For an extensive list of sexual practices that God forbids read Leviticus 18. See also Ephesians 5:3a, where Paul gives a ‘blanket statement’ to cover sexual sin. [Note that the word ‘adultery’ specifically refers to sexual relations between two people where at least one of whom is married to a third party. The word is sometimes used to cover sexual sins generally. The word ‘fornication’ usually refers to any sexual sin].

Biblical Choice #2: Say no to lust. [Matthew 5:27-30]. Jesus pointed out that lust is the foundational sin out of which adultery, and by inference all other sexual sins, is born. This is where to deal with sexual impurity and sexual temptation – at their source in our hearts and thoughts. Jesus, by the use of graphic images, demands that we deal ruthlessly with this root cause of sexual sin.

Biblical Choice #3: Say yes to godly wisdom. [Proverbs 2:1-22; 5:1-23; 6:20-29]. Solomon, who certainly would have understood sexual temptations, is anxious to steer his son on the right course. To prevent him falling into sexual sin-traps he counsels him to listen to godly wisdom. Acceptance of God’s wisdom and God’s word on the matter is really the only road to sexual purity.

Biblical Choice #4: Say yes to self control. [1Thessalonians 4:3-8]. Here Paul aligns self-control in sexual matters with:

    • God’s will
    • Holiness
    • Honour
    • The knowledge of God
    • Doing the right thing by the other person
    • Awareness of God’s judgment
    • Right attitude to God

Paul also indicates that sexual impurity goes hand in hand with rejection of these standards.

Our contemporary culture has not only lost touch with God’s laws about sex, but has also lost almost all concept of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in sexual [and other] matters.  It is extremely important, therefore, for this principle of sexual purity to be embraced and demonstrated in the lives of Christians and Christian leaders. The  Christian point of reference is not the standards of acceptable behaviour defined by the world, but the standard of sexual purity defined by God.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2016