08 Jul Episode 3: Purity: How do I pursue purity in a sex saturated world?
Thanks for joining us again today. Today we’re going to be discussing the question, “How do I pursue sexual purity in a sex-saturated world?” Unfortunately, in today’s society, the idea of saving sex for marriage is thrown out the window. In fact, the Barna Research Company actually did a survey recently on sexual purity and modesty and morality amongst Christian young people 20 and 30 year olds and they discovered that 59% of people who claim to be born-again Christians believe that it’s actually okay to cohabit – to live together before you get married. This is a conversation that we need to have. Somehow we’ve lost morality, Christian ethics and beliefs in our Christian churches today. So we want to continue talking about morality and Christian purity because Barna Research actually found that the same response pattern was evident when it came to gambling, sexual fantasies, abortion, sex outside of marriage, profanity, pornography, same-sex marriage, and the use of illegal drugs. So we just see the decline here, and this is a concern for us.
We know that sexual sin has not been something new that’s just been recently introduced into our society. It’s been going on since the very beginning. In fact, in Genesis 9 I found the first recorded incident of sexual sin. It probably happened long before that, but that’s the first incident that I found. So it’s been around since the very beginning of time. But as Barna says, sexual experimentation is not new, but it is striking to see how sexual behaviors and attitudes that were uncommon are now becoming part of the accepted- that’s the concern- the accepted mainstream experience of young people today. Somehow we have failed to pass on these timeless biblical principles to our young people. We want to change that by having ongoing conversations because we want to call people back to God’s design for sexual purity. Because God is the one that has designed sex we want to follow His ways and His principles. We find in Genesis 2:24 the very beginning of God’s design for marriage and sexuality which says in verse 24,
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and they were not ashamed.
You see, sex is a good thing. But it’s only good as long as we keep it within the boundaries, in the design that God has put in place for us. And we know that marriage is designed to put the gospel on display. This is important because, if we’re messing with sex, we are then messing with the gospel. Huge. So that means we want to talk about this today. I’m very glad that you’re joining us again, Caryn, and we had a great discussion on modesty last week. We’re going to take it one step further and talk about purity and sexuality today. We’re going to get right into it. Let’s see what the Bible says.
Susie: My first question for you, Caryn, is: what are the timeless biblical principles of sexual purity that apply today even in a saturated world?
Caryn: What the Bible says about sex doesn’t change. And just because it doesn’t change doesn’t mean that it’s archaic. Like you said, since God created sex, He gets to be the one who tells us what to do with it, when it’s okay, and how to use it. So I have some examples of some biblical principles that I wanted to mention that just don’t change.
- Sex is between one man and one woman and is expressed only in the context of biblical marriage. Just like Genesis 2:24 that you just said.
- Sex is what binds a couple together as one in the eyes of God (Matthew 19:4-6).
- Sex puts the gospel on display as it shows the sacrificial union between Christ and His Church (Romans 5:25-32).
- Purity encompasses saving all sexual touch for marriage, as we are not only to be pure in action but in thought too (1 Peter 1:15-16).
- Our body is not our own. We were bought at a price and are a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).
These timeless truths didn’t change when Paul was reading them to the Corinthian church which was a sex-saturated culture. So they’re not going to change when we’re also, like you said, it’s nothing new when we’re again in a sex-saturated culture.
Susie: Ok, so those things sound beautiful, but we all know it’s a little bit harder to put it into practice. And so for the woman who really does desire to stay pure, what are some practical boundaries she can put in place so that she can stay pure until her wedding day or even in her marriage?
Caryn: This is probably the number one question that I get asked in any of our mentoring or in any of my relationships with people before they get married. And I think there’s a huge problem in our Christian purity culture that talks about this idea that “As long as I don’t cross the line I’m fine. So long as I don’t have sex. Everything else is fine as long as I’m a virgin when I get married.” And I think that creates a really big problem because it puts this emphasis on, “I can tow the line.” You know, and it makes me start thinking, “How far is too far?” And I want to ask, I kind of want to get the nitty gritty, like, “What am I allowed to do and what am I not allowed to do?” And that’s actually a really, really big problem because it’s focusing so much on what’s allowed. Whereas we need to be like we said before with our modesty; we need to be pursuing purity. We need to be pursuing holiness because God is holy. So first of all, I would say to set your standards really high. It’s better to be overly cautious and sometimes falter than it is to be right on the line and fail. The next thing I would suggest is not hanging out late in the evening. My mom always said, “Nothing good happens after midnight,” and I really like that. I really like that. It’s true. Darkness is not your friend when you’re trying to stay pure. Also, I really recommend spending the majority of your time in groups with other people, having other godly friends holding you accountable. Super important. But if you if you are alone, don’t sit in a basement together in a blanket cuddling and watching a movie. It’s just not going to end well. It’s just going to start creating temptation for you. And ultimately, anything that arouses you to think, “What could happen next?”; that needs to be cut off. So if you think like the old-school bases, like first base, second base, third base, and fourth base is home, even though the other ones get a little blurry, “home” is sex. Why would you step up to bat in a game that you can’t finish? If you are not married, you cannot finish the game. You cannot have sex, so why even step up to bat?
Susie: Excellent. Really good stuff. And harder to put into practicing it. Like you said, if you have someone that can keep you accountable, that’s really excellent. And so, what are the blessings then of staying pure and keeping your heart, your mind, your actions pure before the Lord?
Caryn: Well, God designed sex exclusively for marriage. So God’s blessings for sexuality are going to be found in His boundaries for sexuality. Let me say that again: God’s blessings for sexuality are going to be found in His boundaries for sexuality. This means once you’re married that you actually have the chance to fully experience the Creator’s design for sex. One man and one woman being together with no shame like you said, Genesis 2:24. Waiting for that, staying pure until marriage, means there’s going to be no painful conversations about times you wish didn’t happen. There’s going be no memories of those times creeping up into your mind, and you don’t want them there. There’s going to be none of those painful experiences that have left you with really bad scars. It means instead, on your wedding night once everyone has finished celebrating and showering you with gifts, you get to come into the wedding bed with your spouse and offer them the biggest gift that God intended for you to give them. So if we actually have a minute, I want to touch a little bit here on purity in marriage. Because purity is not just every young woman’s battle that we kind of coin it to be. The battle continues into marriage. As married women, we need to keep our eyes on our spouse, but ultimately keeping our eyes on Christ so that we do not stray away sexually. Staying away from TV, books, anything that is showing pornographic scenes of sex, you need to cut those out of your life. Even shows that show an unbiblical, unbridled passion that’s not always realistic, those things are going to create a longing and a desire within you, and you’re going to start putting those standards on your spouse which is not fair. So those need to be removed from our lives as well.
Susie: Good. Thank you for mentioning that as well because, like you said, sexual sin continues to be a temptation long-term. It’s not just for the teenager, right? So, good stuff. And yet, we have to consider the fact that there are some women that are listening and many women that we know that have messed up sexually. They have sinned, and they have repented, and yet in their hearts they continue to feel tarnished or dirty and feeling like no godly man is ever going to accept them again. What hope can you give a woman in this situation?
Caryn: You know, better than any answer I could give, I actually just want to direct you right to scripture. Nothing is going say it better than this:
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.
If you’ve repented, and you still feel that shame, you have to know that it’s from the enemy. You have been redeemed; you have been freed from your past. The devil reminding you constantly of your sexual mistakes, he wants to do that because he wants to keep you there. But you’ve been set free. Your slate is completely wiped clean. And that’s done by the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross. So if you are struggling still to get past the shame of past mistakes, write these verses down. Put them on your mirror when you’re getting ready in the morning. Start memorizing them, and memorize them until you know them, and you can use them like a sword to throw at the enemy when he tries throwing this back in your face.
Susie: Absolutely, very good. Nothing like God’s Word to bring healing and hope to each of our hearts. We all know that we need lots of grace and lots of mercy in our daily lives. I love the phrase, “Living a lifestyle of repentance.” And that’s just a beautiful offer of hope that, as we repent, God also restores our hope and faith and reconciles us back to Him. So certainly, very good there. Thanks for joining us again, Caryn.
If there’s anybody that’s listening today that maybe this has touched a personal or sensitive spot, I would invite you to email me personally, directly. I don’t want you to have to go through this alone. I’d love to chat with you more to help you process it. But for all of you, I also invite you to join our online chat, ask questions, communicate with one another, support one another, that’s what we want to do as sisters in Christ, right? So please join us. Next week, we will be starting a new series on identity, and I’ll be answering the question, “Is self-love a Christian virtue?” I hope to see you then.
1. Sexual purity is for all people – married or not. How are you doing with sexual purity in your current situation?
2. What boundaries do you have in place in order to keep yourself from falling into sexual sin? (This is for the married as well). If you don’t have any, list some boundaries that you will begin implementing.
3. What biblical truth, spoken today, helps you to receive the grace of God in your life after you have repented of sin?
4. Do you need to talk to anyone to receive further counsel or accountability in your life? If yes, who will you talk to?
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