Pastor's Pen

Moral Purity

Pastor Darrell Johns

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).

Purity in the Bible is a picture of something that is free of foreign substances. Pure water is free from containments. Pure metals are free of impurities. Think of gold tried in the fire. (See Revelation 3:18.) Pure garments are free from dirt. A pure heart is free from sin, and pure motives are free from hidden agendas.

No one in their right mind would want to drink polluted water or eat contaminated food. If our physical health can be put at risk by ingesting anything that is impure, how much more should we guard our hearts and minds from pollutants that will contaminate our souls?

When Christians speak of moral purity, we have a standard by which to measure. In our culture, the common view is that everyone is right in their own eyes. (See Judges 17:6, 21:25.) People who are morally adrift believe that right and wrong are subjective and situational. As I typed these words, a great sense of sadness came over me. I am sorry to say that, even among Christians, the biblical standard for moral purity has been compromised. So, exactly what is moral purity to God?

God is the essence of purity and holiness. He created humans in His image and calls us to be holy as He is holy. (See Leviticus 20:7; I Peter 1:16.) In a passage of Scripture on sexual sins, we learn that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit and are to be holy. (See I Corinthians 6:19-20.)

The Bible blesses the union of one man and one woman in the lifelong covenant relationship of marriage. (See Genesis 1:28, 2:24; I Corinthians 7:2-5; Hebrews 13:4.) In the confines of marriage, there is liberty and the blessing of mutual pleasure. The result of marital love is procreation. An entire book of the Bible, The Song of Solomon, is devoted to marital love.

There are sexual behaviors that the Bible condemns, but it also gives hope that if a person confesses and forsakes their sins, they will be forgiven. (See I Corinthians 6:9-11.)

The Bible condemns adultery, which is marital unfaithfulness. The covenant relationship of marriage is sacred, and the prohibition against adultery is intended to preserve this first and most important human relationship that God instituted. Adultery would include extramarital affairs even with a consenting spouse. (See Exodus 20:14; Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22; Hebrews 13:4.)

The Bible condemns fornication, which can refer specifically to pre-marital sexual behavior or in some passages, all forms of sexual immorality. The commitment to abstinence, saving sex for marriage, is not only right, it is reasonable. (See I Corinthians 6:9-10, 18, 7:2; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3-5; Colossians 3:5; I Thessalonians 4:3-5.)

The protection of the family, and especially children, is paramount to the Lord. As a prevention against abuse, the Bible condemns incest. (See Leviticus 18:6-18, 20:11-12, 20:14-21; I Corinthians 5:1-5.)

The Bible condemns homosexuality because it undermines marriage, blurs gender lines, promotes selfish sexual gratification, and is a perversion of what the Bible calls “natural.” Gender distinction is part of God’s creative design. He made male and female. Marriage has the goal of procreation. While we have sympathy for people who struggle with their sexual identity, we must not manipulate Scripture to accommodate sin. We can have compassion without compromise. (See Genesis 18:20, 19:4-11; Leviticus 18:22, 20:13-16; Romans 1:26-27; I Corinthians 6:9-10; Jude 1:7.)

The word “condemn” is strong but accurate, and its use here is intentional. The Bible also condemns bestiality. (See Leviticus 18:23, 20:15-16; Deuteronomy 27:21.) The Bible condemns rape. (See Deuteronomy 22:25-27.)

The Bible also condemns sexual lust, which is the spiritual sin that leads to the physical action. (See Matthew 5:28.) This is the reason conscientious Christians avoid the appearance of evil, and steer clear of pornography and any media that violates biblical principles of moral purity. Clinical evidence shows that addiction to sinful but pleasurable experiences is as addictive as drugs. We are to maintain control of our minds and bodies so that we are not brought under the power of anything ungodly. (See I Corinthians 6:12.)

All sin separates us from God, but sexual sins are a violation of our own bodies. (See I Corinthians 6:18.) The consequences of sexual sin are not to be taken lightly. The Bible is clear that people who join together in a sexual act become one flesh. (See I Corinthians 6:16.)

The sexual sins condemned in the Bible were frowned upon for centuries and were, in many cases, illegal. It is a different story in our country now. However, making a behavior legal does not make it moral. There is a higher law, the Bible, and a supreme judge, Almighty God.

Moral purity begins with the heart but extends to the body. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. (See I Corinthians 6:19-20.) We are to surrender our entire being to the control of the Spirit. (See Romans 6:13.) Purity cannot be compartmentalized. We cannot be pure in heart but contaminated in mind or body.

There is a prayer for purity that we should pray often: “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14). The eyes of the Lord are not limited to the things we say or do. His eyes also see what we are thinking. If we are pure in heart, we are on the way to being pure in every part of our life.