"But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding."
Job 32:8

Monday, February 4, 2013

Boundaries of Purity

Today I want to continue on talking on the topic of purity. Last week we focused on the calling that we have to reach a higher standard. This was essentially a broader overview of the whole Christian standard of what it means to follow God, but today I want to narrow things down. I want to look at something specific that I think is too often misunderstood in today's culture. I want to talk about the boundaries of purity.

I think that it is safe to say, that far too many Christians and non-Christians, have the following idea of purity in mind:

"Purity is a line. A boundary that is marked right before going the "whole" way with someone, and we can go as far as we like as long as we don't cross that line and we're all good with God."

I hope most of you have the same perplexed thought running through your mind that goes,"Who would get that impression from Scripture? O.o"

Now, I want to address two serious misconceptions about purity made in this illustration.

The first is this: that purity is a line right before sex.

It may not seem so, but it feels as though this thought is quite prevalent among young Christians today and its almost amusing in light of what Christ says in Matthew 5:26 when He says,

"But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (NIV)

And again, we looked at Ephesians 5:3 last week which says that there should not even be a HINT of sexual immorality among us because it is unfit for God's children. 

All one needs to do is do a quick search on Google about verses on purity and no where is a line indicated when it comes to purity nor is there indication of compromise. If Christ taught that even a thought could lead a man into sin, how much more so the actions that are a prelude to sex? 

Now I know that there are some people, that I do not claim to know but I believe there are some, who will try and argue "Well, a specific line isn't indicated in Scripture as to what is acceptable and what isn't etc." And they're right, there isn't a line indicated as I just said. 

But here's the other false assumption made in the initial illustration. Are you ready? Okay.

The second is this: that purity is stagnant, a line, unmovable and something to avoid crossing. 

I've spoken before on the idea of faith being alive and in motion under the heading "Stand firm, but not still" which can be found here, and this idea of faith being alive and in motion wholly includes purity. The psalmist knew this in Psalm 119:9 NIV, "

"How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word."

What is his answer to living pure, it is living. Not many will say that the idea of living is some stagnant or dull, for that matter, but something alive. Here the psalmist is really talking about active obedience to God's Word. Obeying His commands. 

The other interesting thing to note about that verse is that the psalmist doesn't specify a simple, singular action by which we remain pure but it encompasses the whole of His Word. Some people may say, "Well, you say 'be pure' but I don't know how to start, where to begin." Purity is taught throughout Scripture and the New Testament speaks in abundance on sexual purity. 

A quick Google search and clicking on one of the first links takes me to a site that already gives fifteen verses on purity. Now, this says something doesn't it? Would it be safe to say that those who know His Word, know what it means to be pure, and those who know His Word are the ones who dig into it daily? 

We are in a war. Again, I have spoken on the importance of daily Bible reading (link here). Those who know His Word, will know what it means to be pure and how He desires a living purity for us. 

That purity is not about a boundary, and purity is not about remaining still. Its alive, just as Christ is alive in us. Purity is not something we stoop to and simply avoid the line with, but something we aim for. 

Now, with regards to sexual purity and what is deemed as appropriate, what is not and such, is another topic which I want to touch onto next week, so don't freak out. 

May He teach the meaning of walking in purity this coming week... or you can wait until next week's message (joking). 

God bless you all. 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 NIV

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