What is the first thing that comes to mind when I say the word purity? For most people it’s probably something related to sexual purity or lust – which is fine since the word definitely includes that; however, we have severely limited ourselves and misunderstood the word if we only think of it in terms of sexuality.
Words like pure/clean/cleanse occur hundreds of times throughout the pages of Scripture and these words are not just written to wayward youth or singles -they are written to all of us.
Let me focus on just a couple passages that will demonstrate. In Matthew 5:8 during his teaching known as the Sermon on the Mount (and specifically here, the Beatitudes), Jesus says
The pure in heart are blessed, for they will see God. (HCSB)
So the first thing we notice is that Jesus connects being pure (in heart!) with being part of His Kingdom (think Heaven if you must). This involves much more than sexual purity/chastity/faithfulness.
In fact that last word – faithfulness – might be a good way of helping us relate to the word “pure”. Jesus is calling us to a way of life that is consistent with WHO He is as the incarnate Word of God. Now certainly this includes sexual wholeness but it is so much more – and it is to all people, not just singles and youth.
Similarly the Psalmist says in Psalm 24:3–4 (HCSB)
3Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? 4The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not set his mind on what is false, and who has not sworn deceitfully.
Now regarding youth, the Apostle Paul does write to Timothy saying, 12Let no one despise your youth; instead, you should be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12, HCSB)
This verse (see also 1 Timothy 5:2) probably does include aspects of sexual purity, but this is just one aspect of purity – purity is a matter of the heart and the manner in which one lives.
Thus, purity is a full orbed matter that affects all people and God expects all his followers to demonstrate a life of purity in every aspect. Even in the area of sexuality, purity is not synonymous with abstinence but would include adults living in sexual purity as well. Married couples break this when they lust and cheat on their spouses, Single adults break it when they simply lust, cheat or treat others with impure motives (sexually or otherwise).
Confess any desires and directions in life you have pursued that are not wholesome and God honoring and pursue purity in all you do today!