The Necessity of Purity Before Marriage

One of our readers writes, I have been receiving a lot of mail advertising programs that are oriented towards sexual conduct. Virtual girlfriend, or boyfriend; links to adult sites etc etc. We need to let people know the IMPORTANCE of purity before marriage. When it comes to moral purity, there is only one acceptable alternative--"But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (conduct); Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:15-16). Holiness is God-likeness. It is a quality without which "no man shall see the Lord" (Heb 12:14). Holiness involves the totality of man, spirit, soul, and body. it is God's will that every part of our persons be sanctified, or set apart for His use. This is why Scripture says, "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess 5:23). "Blameless" refers to a state approved by God; one in which sin has been subordinated and fleshly lusts refused expression. This is God's will for us. Speaking to the tempted ones, the Spirit says, "For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God" (1 Thess 4:3-5, NASB). Those that gratify unlawful "lustful passion" do so in deliberate ignorance of God. Their conduct is the direct result of their practical alienation from God, profession notwithstanding. We live in a time of "fallen leaders"--men that are said to have fallen into immorality. It is too common, I fear, and betrays the shallow state of contemporary religion. Men do not "fall" into sin, they are "overtaken in a trespass" because they were not going on to perfection (Gal 6:1; Heb 6:1-2). Our reader is concerned about purity before marriage, and justly so. We must also be concerned about purity after marriage. Impurity is never right, never justified, always wrong. Fornication, generally considered to be immoral conduct outside of marriage, is soundly condemned by God in all of its forms. it is something from which we are to "abstain" (Acts 15:20,29). This is an especially defiling sin. As it is written, "Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body" (1 Cor 6:18). With great power the Apostle reminds us that our bodies are the "temple of the Holy Spirit." That places an obligation upon us to glorify God in our bodies, not use them to gratify unlawful desires. It is imperative that believers refuse to give any advantage to the devil, taking seriously the admonition of the Spirit, "Do not give the devil an opportunity" (Eph 4:27). Impurity is always the result of giving Satan the upper hand. There is an answer to this matter--a way to keep pure, which is imperative if we are going to dwell with the Lord. "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh" (Gal 5:16). Walking in the Spirit requires considerable effort. It involves setting your affection on things above, and not on things on the earth (Col 3:1-3). A focus adjusted to things that are not seen is also a requirement (2 Cor 4:17-18). A mind occupied with Christ (Heb 12:1-2), and a zealous quest to obtain eternal life (Phil 3:8-10) will keep one from immorality. A failure to maintain these things thrusts one into Satan's domain. The reason for maintaining moral purity is not simply to keep yourself pure for your mate. Eternity is at stake! The approval of God is in the balance. Whether or not you survive the judgment day is the issue. If you are ever tempted to indulge in immorality--before or after marriage--ask yourself if forfeiting glory is worth it.