In youth group, we are going through a short series on purity. Over the next few weeks, it is my intention to post summaries of what we have discussed with each other regarding the topic at hand. Here is the content of Week One: Our Motivation for Purity.
What is purity?
Right off the bat, we need to be clear that sexual purity is not the only thing we mean when we say purity. Purity is much bigger than the realm of sex. Purity (read: holiness) is something that God requires of us at all times (see Lev. 11.44-45; Matt. 5.48; 1 Pet. 1.16). Every command God made was so that His people would be holy and devoted to Him. So purity, then, needs to be defined as being clean and set apart from the things of this world. Or, as Paul says:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as living sacrifices, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Why should we be pure?
So that’s the what of purity. But why should we care about how pure or impure we are? Does it really matter that much? After all, Jesus became sin on our behalf in order to give us His righteousness, right? So shouldn’t that mean we can just do what we want and He’ll forgive us? The temptation here is to give a list of physical and earthly reasons for rejecting the ways of the world and serving Jesus exclusively. So, if we think of sexuality, we could say, “You don’t want an STD, do you? What about pregnancy? Have you thought about your future spouse? Wont it be great to tell your husband/wife someday that you waited for them?”
These aren’t necessarily bad reasons… but they are incomplete reasons at best. Here are two (better and more complete) reasons for being pure according to what God has called purity.
- God said so. The old adage, “God said it, I believe it, that settles it for me” is a bit off. Regardless of whether or not I necessarily believe something that God has specifically said, it should be settled by virtue of His saying it. So when (in the above verses) God calls us to purity in our lives and doctrines, we have two choices: we can believe in His Word and obey Him or we can re-write and re-think what God has said and decide to believe in our own, fallen interpretations of His Word. But, as Augustine said, “If you believe what you like in the gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it’s not the gospel you believe in, but yourself.”
- Speaking of the Gospel. Our second reason for obedience must come from Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Paul says, “at one time you were in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord”. And elsewhere: “…do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” Jesus died for us to save us from our sins and the effects of sin so that sin might not rule over us.
What if we haven’t been pure?
It is unavoidable. No one has avoided impurity perfectly. We all have slipped up and fallen. So what hope is there? I leave you with Chandler: