November 26, 2023 | Duane Roberts
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If you’re anything like me, when you hear the word “purity,” you’re immediately transported back to a very uncomfortable night at a youth group meeting full of rings and pledges. Whether that’s a good or bad memory for you, let’s break down what biblical purity actually is. There can be a big misconception of true biblical purity and how we’re called as followers of Jesus to abide in it.
Purity is not just waiting to have sex until marriage. In fact, that’s a tiny part of a much bigger lifestyle God calls us to when we follow Him. Over the last 50 years, the word “purity” has been diluted into this idea of chastity before marriage and it’s simply so much more than that! This teaching has removed the original intent of the word and caused harm in the lives of young Christians. It’s important to recognize the meaning behind what we teach and the negative effects on someone’s spiritual walk.
Purity is not gender specific. In many teachings on purity, this misunderstanding of the biblical terminology places the responsibility on women. Purity is not a biblical value designated for one specific gender—God places a standard on all believers no matter their age or sex. Every single person who follows Jesus is responsible for their own journey with this principle. Just as purity is not all about waiting for marriage, you’re not responsible for the sinful nature of those who might perceive you.
The definition of purity is essentially “freedom from contamination.” This is something that can be applied to every area of life. Living a pure life comes down to being free from the world’s contamination in your thoughts and how you act in every area of your life.
Purity is who you are and what you do. When you take inventory of your life and your actions, purity is being able to say “yes” to questions like: Do I live a transparent life? Do I hide parts of myself to make myself look better on the outside? Do my actions show the fruits of the Spirit like self-control, humility, generosity, and love? Do the hobbies I spend my time and money on reflect the character of God? Living in purity is more about living a life full of integrity than avoiding sin.
Purity is not drawing attention to yourself. Purity has been heavily tied to how you present yourself in the modern age. Are your shorts too short? Where’s that neckline at? These types of things have generally been categorized under modesty, but when you think about it, modesty and purity go hand-in-hand. While it’s good and wise to discern how you dress, that’s really not the point of purity. Think about it! In Bible times, they were covered head to toe in garb. Do you think Jesus was talking about an epidemic of free ankles? No. The heart behind living a pure life is not drawing attention to yourself (1 Thessalonians 4:11). In biblical times, this looked more like the Pharisee who announced how much he tithed compared to the widow who gave a small coin. He was contaminating his life with pride and condescension to those around him rather than walking humbly. This is biblical purity!
Matthew 5:8 (NIV) tells us, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” When you live a pure life, you’re reflecting the life of Jesus. You see your life through His eyes and act accordingly. Chasing purity affects all aspects of your life. A pure heart will show in how you think, speak, make decisions, tend to your relationships, and beyond. Remember that your pure living benefits you, your walk with the Lord, and those who are close to you.
Kristen Hollis has served in the Communications Team of Calvary since 2020 as a Senior Copywriter and Editor. She contributes and edits content for Calvary’s digital and promotional initiatives. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Communications from Palm Beach Atlantic University. Kristen and her husband Zachary enjoy all things musical theatre, vinyl hunting, and having the opportunity to serve Calvary on staff while utilizing their talents.