Rev. Eriks is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Hudsonville, Michigan.
Satan has targeted you to lead you away from a life of purity. Through the wicked world, Satan entices you to write your own rules for how you will live your life. His lie to you is, “Follow the lusts of your heart. Eat the forbidden fruit. Do what you want to do whenever, wherever, however, and with whomever you want. If you do this, you will find happiness. God is not interested in your happiness. Do what makes you happy.” Satan deceitfully leaves out the devastation and spiritual scars that result from such choices.
God assures you of His powerful grace to overcome these attacks of Satan: “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Rom. 5:20). God’s grace is a power that transforms the lives of His people. My prayer is that God’s grace is a power in your life, giving strength to live in purity. To live in purity, we must understand what purity is. In future articles we will examine other aspects of living in purity.
By the work of the Holy Spirit in us, the Holy Scriptures search out the inner recesses of our hearts to show us if we are clinging in any way to sin. This is done in the way of meditating on the Word of God. Scripture calls the child of God to this activity. In Psalm 77:12, Asaph confesses, “I will meditate also of all thy work….” Psalm 1:2 says that the man who delights in the law of the Lord meditates on it “day and night.” On a Sunday afternoon and during the course of a week, young people, meditate on this Word of God concerning purity. Take some time to write out answers to the thought questions. May God use this to encourage you in the pursuit of purity.
Passage to read and consider:
Matthew 5:8—”Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”
In this passage, purity is listed as one of the spiritual characteristics that make the citizens of the kingdom beautiful. This characteristic is found in the citizens of the kingdom who are born again by the Spirit of Christ, are renewed in the image of Christ, have received the gift of faith, are washed in the blood of Christ, and are sanctified by the Spirit of Christ. The pure in heart are saved by the grace of God and given the new life of Christ. They are new creatures in Christ. To citizens of the kingdom, Jesus Christ has given the new hearts that are described in Matthew 5:8 as pure.
The word “pure” means “freedom from stain, pollution, or contamination.” Purity is cleanness and clearness, to which nothing is added. A bucket of white paint with one drop of black in it is no longer a bucket of pure white paint. A pan of brownies with just a little dog doo-doo baked into it may smell fantastic and look edible, but they are still contaminated. Purity means not contaminated, mixed, or blended with anything else. This fits with how we use the word—we speak of pure gold, pure air, and pure water.
This does not mean that the child of God is sinless on this earth. In fact, as citizens of the kingdom we are conscious of and burdened by the reality of sin in our own hearts and lives. Purity cannot be a life completely free from sin. It is a single-minded devotion to God. A pure heart is devoted to God in the way of holiness. Purity is a devotion to live the way God calls us to live. It is to live the way God has saved us to live—a life of service and devotion to Him.
Purity involves the whole person. You cannot be half-pure. To be pure is not to be prim and proper outwardly while, within, our desires, motives, and thoughts are full of iniquity. Purity is living our lives in holiness. Such a life requires single-eyed devotion both inwardly and outwardly. We like to put on and take off our devotion like clothes. We want to be devoted to God, but we also want to be devoted to ourselves and to the things of this earth. Outwardly, our devotion can appear so genuine and pious, but inwardly our thoughts and desires are filled with the ways we want to please our flesh. The young person who is pure is living consistently no matter who is around. Our conduct does not change because parents, elders, or pastor is present or might find out what we have done. Purity is a life lived to the glory of God.
Understanding what purity is points us to who defines purity for us. Who is the authority and standard of all purity? Who has decided what purity is? Who can really show us what purity is? God is the authority and standard of purity. This purity is revealed to us through Jesus Christ, who is the pure, totally perfect Son of God. Jesus Christ lived a life of purity, revealing the purity and righteousness of God Himself.
This is important to understand for two reasons. First, God in Jesus Christ, not this present sinful world, is the standard of purity. Do not look to the world to define purity. The world under the leadership of Satan cannot be trusted, because Satan is the father of the lie. His lie is that good is evil and evil is good. To learn about purity, don’t listen to Satan or the world, but go to the Word of God! Second, knowing the purity of Jesus Christ is important because the only possibility for living this life of purity is found in Jesus Christ. The life of purity is not out of reach for you. It is not hopeless for you. Do not despair and think that such a life is impossible. It is possible by the grace of God. The possibility is not found in you, but in Jesus Christ, who gives to you the living water of the blessings of salvation. He is the One who changes hearts and lives by His sovereign work. Even where you are walking in sin, Jesus Christ is able to change you so that you begin to live this life of purity.
1) What is purity?
2) What does it mean that you cannot be “half-pure”?
3) Who is the standard for purity?
4) What does Psalm 86:11-13 teach about purity?
The life of purity is a holy life free from what taints and contaminates. This life is a consistent life of striving to live to the glory of God in obedience to His Word. A pure life involves every area of life. The word “purity” is often used, especially for young people, in regard to sex. But purity goes far beyond sex. Here are a few areas of the Christian life in which to consider purity.
First, God calls you to purity in yourrelationships—with your parents, siblings, friends, and coworkers. Purity in these relationships means freedom from lying and deception. Those who are striving for purity do not selfishly use others to benefit themselves. Especially in relationship to authority, purity is freedom from disobedience and rebellion. A life of devotion to God is shown, then, by speaking the truth, loving others by giving yourself selflessly for their good, and obeying those in authority over you.
Second, God calls you to purity in yourschoolwork. This means no cheating. Do your work to the best of your ability in devotion to God.
Third, when you are involved in sports and entertainment, God calls you to purity. If you are involved in athletics, the life of purity means no cheating, no selfishness, and no lying. When you seek entertainment, this means you must be careful what you see and what you hear. What you do must be free from what would contaminate your heart and your mind. Do not think that tasting the filth of the world will not have an effect on you. Would you eat the brownies just out of the oven knowing that just a little dog doo-doo was baked in them? Then why would you contaminate your hearts and minds with the music and movies and filth on the Internet?
Fourth, God demands purity at work. This means that at work there should be no gossip, laziness, deception, or disobedience. Instead, the life of purity at work is a life of obeying your employer, being kind to your fellow workers no matter what they do to you, and working hard for the glory of God.
Finally, God calls young people to sexual purity. Off limits to you are pre-marital sex, impure thoughts and actions, and pornography. The child of God should not wear suggestive clothing or use suggestive language. God demands that you use your bodies in a way that is consistent with God’s design for your bodies.
1) What are some other areas of purity to consider in your lives?
2) Where are you struggling to maintain purity in your life? Why?
3) Are you committed to purity in all areas of life, but especially to sexual purity?
If you are struggling to maintain purity in any of these areas, be assured of the grace and mercy of God. Take time to pray, asking God to forgive your sins. Know that there is forgiveness for you in the blood of Jesus Christ. The God who forgives your sins is able to give grace to overcome such impurity in your lives (read Philippians 2:12, 13). Pray daily for grace to overcome impurity in your lives.
Living a life of purity is extremely difficult because Satan through the world entices us to impurity and we are drawn to this because of our sinful natures. Satan is the father of the lie (John 8:44). Satan presents to us in the world the illusion that sin won’t harm us, that God does not care about our happiness, or that God is not in control of the circumstances of our lives. Satan bombards you through music, TV, video games, and the Internet with the idea that you will find true and lasting happiness in doing what you want. He wants you to believe that in this media you will find truth and happiness. It looks good! If you dabble in these things, it feels good. Slowly, Satan strives to lead away from the purity of God to the “purity” of the world (which is no purity). What happens is that more and more you do what feels good instead of considering what God calls you to do. Maybe you think for a moment about what dad and mom will say if they find out, but soon your lust overrules that concern.
Living in purity is difficult because the world says purity is weird. If you are going to live in purity, you are a strange. Sometimes this characterization even comes from others in the church. Living the life of purity means swimming against the sinful currents of this world, which is not pleasing to your flesh. Standing against these currents is hard work. You will be branded as some religious wacko. It is so much easier to go with the flow. But when you go with the flow, you are allowing people rather than God to determine what purity is.
When Satan attacks with the lie, God provides the truth, which is found in His Word. The reality is that God has created and saved you for a purpose. He loves you. He has demonstrated that love by giving His Son to die for your sins. The way to true happiness is knowing Him and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Let us look to God for the reality about a life of purity.
1) What makes a life of purity so difficult for you?
2) What are some of the fears, questions, or hesitations you face when you consider living this life of purity?
The motivation for living this life of purity is found in Matthew 5:8, which says, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” God blesses the pure in heart. God blesses not because we are pure in heart. His blessing is always a gift of grace that is completely undeserved. This blessing is undeserved because even this purity is a gift of God to His people.
Yet this motivates us. The great blessing for the pure in heart is that they shall see God. This means that one day you will be in heaven to see the glory and beauty of God revealed in Jesus Christ. You will enjoy covenant fellowship with God forever. In the new heavens and new earth there will be everlasting spiritual joy. Why will this be true? There will be no more sin. You will be perfectly pure. You will serve God in perfection forever.
What this means for you now is that true joy and happiness is found only in the way of purity. In the consciousness that you will see God one day, strive, by the power of God’s grace, to live in purity.
1) What will be so wonderful about heaven (read Revelation 21:3-7)?
2) Are there other motivations for living in purity?