We often hear about purity when we discuss not having sex outside of marriage. However, the subject of purity goes far deeper than that. The truth is, purity is first a matter of the heart.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” -Matthew 5:8
The English word purity comes from the Latin purus which means pure, clean or undefiled. Purity reflects the idea of being wholesome, unblemished and without stain or uncorrupted.
Purity is the attitude of our heart, responding with a heart of obedience, with right motivates, and acting from a place of righteousness. The Word of God tells us that we should have “clean hands and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:4). So there is no doubt that purity finds its origin in one’s heart. However, purity is also about the things we eat, do and come into contact with that could potentially “make us dirty” as we would see in the book of Leviticus. But today, we want to focus on the heart matter. Too often, we focus on the exterior and not enough on the interior. Yet if we understand that working on the interior will directly impact the exterior, we would focus more on our hearts and minds.
Purity is directly related to holiness.
“For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:7
It’s about our response to God and walking in His ways. When we become a new creature in Jesus Christ, we must “put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth” (Ephesians 4:24 CSB) or “in true righteousness and holiness” (NIV). Therefore, purity is also about walking in the truth of God’s Word, in holiness… it’s about honoring God. It translates itself into trust. Trust in God. Trust that He knows best and is guiding us into perfect paths. Trust in His timing and in His complete wisdom. As a result of this trust, we walk differently from the rest of the world. We live differently. In essence, walking in purity reflects the marriage relationship that we must have with God… a faithful relationship.
When we do not walk in purity of heart, seeking the Father’s heart and will, we open the door for the enemy to come in and lead us down the path of sin. Then, one sin will lead to another. You see, sin is the one thing you won’t find “single”. It always shows up at the very least as a pair meaning one sin most definitely brings on at least another. Take King David for instance: with his lingering eyes, he starred at Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife for too long, which led him to adultery. But it did not end there. He continued down a destructive path: lying by omission to Uriah, covering up the affair, and murdering the faithful soldier in the process. And to top it all off, David took Bathsheba for a wife and did not repent immediately of his sins. From adultery to a child out of wedlock (who eventually died) to murder, this original man of God went from committing one sin to a few, all because he did not keep his heart on God and in His will for a moment.
Of course, we cannot talk about purity and fail to mention the gift of sex God has given us. Since purity is a matter of the heart, celibacy is the perfect response that keeps us in alignment with God’s will when we aren’t married yet. In fact, celibacy reflects our understanding of God’s will, our worth and value. It is about protecting our bodies from others, from the spirits and soul ties they can bring with them, as well as possible diseases. But most of all, it’s about protecting our identity in Christ, who God created us to be… His Holy temple…His very own sanctuary. Our bodies are holy ground. Only the one that has sacrificed his or her singleness and committed his or herself before God to build a life with you can remove his sandals and step into this holy place. When we step outside of marriage and misuse the gift of sex God has given us, we inevitably tell Him that we do not trust His ways, His wisdom, His timing, nor His promises. We do not trust that He can give us what we need at the right time. Also, this reflects a lack of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives in particular patience and self-control. Unfortunately, this means that we are still not giving ourselves over to the Spirit of God but rather to the flesh. And in some ways, it’s as if we are telling God, our Maker, that He made a mistake in the manufacturing process…in creating us. But that is not true. God did not make any mistake in creating us. He is the only Maker, only Creator, only manufacturer who has a zero ‘defect’ rate. He only makes quality “products”.
What’s more, purity is about protecting and guarding who we are about to become as we walk with God. Our bodies hold our most precious cargo notably our heart, mind, and the Holy Spirit. As a result, we must guard it with care. Our thoughts can defile our mind and heart but only one thing can violate all three: sex with the wrong person (or even the right person) under the wrong circumstances. The Bible tells us that out of all sins, defiling our bodies is the worst because we harm our own soul and ourselves.
The first step in becoming pure in heart consists in emptying ourselves of self and letting God fill us with His nature, our new identity in Christ. Only through Jesus can we find the freedom to walk in purity. Purity does not start by keeping sets of rules, changing our behaviors or performing rituals like going to church every week. All these are good but they will come naturally as we give our hearts to God and choose to walk in complete obedience, trust, and faith in Him. So are we willing to come to the cross, turn away from old ways and pour out ourselves so Jesus can fill us and make us new? Because that is where purity begins.