Guest writer , Tebello Matsela

I really wanted to write this for all the single people that are both in the waiting season (for their future spouse) and those that feel the call to full time singleness here on earth; But as I studied this particular topic I found it relevant for every believer, and that is whether you are single or married or whatever season of life you are in. I felt prompted to write on this particular topic because of the things that are being taught specifically in what we often call the “purity culture.”

If you are single or have been single, you have probably been taught that you need to remain pure for marriage, or you need to practice purity in your singleness, so that when your spouse arrives you are blameless and probably this would guarantee you a successful marriage. We are often taught also that if you have sex before marriage, your marriage is bound to fail dismally, because God cannot bless such a marriage. Because of the divorce culture or secular world that promotes divorce, Christians are often pushed to obey all these rules in the purity culture out of fear of having a failing marriage.

It remains a shock however to some, who to their surprise they have obeyed all these “purity rules” and sometimes, their marriages fail. We are still and continue witnessing divorce or unhealthy marriages within the Christian culture. But what we are not asking is; what might be the reason that some Christians still end up in bad marriages despite the rules that are supposedly being followed by single Christians in order to have successful marriages?

The other part to this piece of the pie in the purity culture, is people who leave their faith because they have not kept their end of the bargain in ensuring that they keep the purity rules of singleness. We often find such Christians pulling away from the church or church groups because of their fear to be judged harshly by others or by God himself. The element of Grace and godly correction/rebuke is tossed outside of the window when one is discovered to have broken these “rules.”

This is how I see it: Just like a church that promotes a gospel that offers prosperity more than salvation/the cross, Christians have promoted rules that offer a way to a successful marriage than the biblical truths of singleness and marriage, not forgetting the view that God has for both; which is beautiful. I think sometimes that is why our own personal convictions of purity and celibacy are often preached more than God’s word. It is my prayer, my dear beloved reader, for you not to only be satisfied with the content that I am about to provide, but to thirst for more of God’s word and to seek for truth. Sometimes we settle with anything, because of our laziness to seek truth and the things of the kingdom.

So what does purity really mean? According to bible researchers Purity is freedom from anything that contaminates. Purity is the quality of being faultless, uncompromised, or unadulterated. Pure water is free from any other substances. And a pure life is one in which sin no longer determines the choices one makes. Purity is important to God, who alone is truly pure. Purity is often used in Scripture as a means to communicate holiness or perfection.

When God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1-2), everything was pure. There was no death, decay, pollution, or sin. God creates pure things because He is pure. In Him, there is no confusion, contradiction, or compromise. He created human beings to reflect His image and to live in pure, unbroken communion with Him (Genesis 1:27). However, sin is the corruptor of purity (Psalm 14:3). When Moses was building the tabernacle, God specified that the lampstand and other items inside the Holy Place be made “of pure gold” (Exodus 25:31)

The psalmist alludes the following: Who will climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure. – (Psalm 24:3-4) Jesus affirms this in the gospel of Matthew on what is commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount; and He alerts the following; blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. – (Matthew 5:8) Purity guarantees us access to God, because He too is pure or holy. That is why I praise my Father, for our Lord Jesus Christ. If it were not because of His blood that cleansed us from our sins, we wouldn’t be considered to be worthy to stand in God’s presence. That is why God hates sin, because sin makes us impure. Any kind of sin makes us impure, not only sexual sin but all sin makes us impure. Sin breaks the communion that we are supposed to enjoy with God.

When our hearts are clouded with impurities, we cannot experience God’s presence or hear His voice. But when our claim to righteousness is based on what Jesus has done (Titus 3:5), we will strive to forsake sin (1 John 3:9) and live in purity of heart, enjoying fellowship with the God of purity. Impurity is often listed as one factor that will keep us away from the presence of God (Colossians 3:5–6).

One of the greatest evangelists known to man, is a man named Billy Graham. Graham is known for His love for Christ and His strong passion for lost souls. When addressing the issue of purity he declared the following: Christ can do only one thing with the sin of impurity — and every other sin — and that is to condemn it. But He also forgives it when we confess and turn from it. He cleanses us and gives us victory over sin. Jesus told the immoral woman to leave her life of sin and sin no more (John 8:11). He says that to us as well — and He never told anyone to do something without giving them power to do it.

By now, you must have a glimpse of what purity is and how the Bible address impurity. God is calling every believer to the call of purity. In every area of our lives, we are expected to live pure lives. In finances, in family, relationships, marriage, career, etc. purity is the standard that the bible is calling every believer to. Peter reminds us of this truth so well: So think clearly and exercise self-control…So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” – (1 Peter 1: 13-16)

Now that we have established that purity has to be entailed in every area of our lives; let us look into sexual purity. We need to understand that when we live according to God’s word, we honour Him. We do not honour God by living on what people say, but according to what He says. The term sexual purity refers to is the freedom from immorality or perversion.

Look at what God says about sexual purity. “You should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honourable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God. . . . For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life” (1 Thessalonians 4:3–5, 7). This passage outlines God’s reasons for calling for sexual purity in the lives of His children.

The secular world’s philosophy of “if it feels good, do it” pervades cultures, to the point where sexual purity is seen as archaic and unnecessary. Uncontrolled “passionate lust” is a work of the flesh (Galatians 5:19), not of the Spirit. So controlling our lusts and living sexually pure lives is essential to anyone who professes to know Christ. In doing so, we honour God with our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:18–20).

When one remains sexually pure, it does not mean that they are missing out on anything, it actually means waiting for God’s best for us. We know God’s rules and discipline reflect His love for us. By maintaining sexual purity before marriage, we avoid emotional entanglements that may negatively affect future relationships and marriages. Please note that I did not say, it guarantees successful marriages; however it protects us from seen and unseen dangers that we may avoid. It is better to apply wisdom now, than to regret and live out the consequences later.

Lastly, on celibacy. The word celibacy is not explicitly mentioned in the Bible, and that is why the word is commonly used or intertwined with sexual purity. Research has however differentiated celibacy from sexual purity to mean “the gift of singleness.” This is the gift that is not accorded to everyone for all the seasons of their lives, but this gift is conferred by God to certain individuals also known as “eunuchs.” These are people who devote their entire lives here on earth serving the Lord with their all without being devoted to a spouse. Please note that both these gifts; singleness (full/part time) and marriage are gifts from the Lord.

Matthew 19:9-12, declares the following on celibacy or the gift of singleness “‘I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.’ The disciples said to him, ‘if this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.’ Jesus replied, ‘Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.‘”

The phrase “only those to whom it has been given” refers to people receiving what some call “the gift of celibacy” or “the gift of singleness.” Regardless of what we call the gift, Jesus teaches that most people do not naturally desire to remain single and celibate for a lifetime. The exceptions are those who have “renounced marriage” for the kingdom’s sake. Such celibates have received a special gift from God.

Dearly Beloved, if there is one thing that God is calling all of us to, is Purity. Remember always that the gift of salvation is free, however maintaining that gift is hard work. Hard work that requires loving and knowing the God who created us, respecting and staying in His word. Sharing sound doctrine with those around us, and having a burning passion for the lost souls. It is my desire that as we end this year, the grace of God, the love of Jesus and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you always. In Jesus name.

Tebello is a blogger , a podcaster and currently pursuing her Doctorate, please follow her social media pages on Facebook and instagram @matselatebello.

4 Responses

  1. Love love love!! I do stand on the fact that purity equals celibacy, no sex before marriage!

    It’s so sad that here in the US, it’s such a different perspective even in the church where a lot of people move in together before they get married and it’s a societal norm!!

    1. It’s a societal norm everywhere and that is why the Bible urges us not to conform to the patterns of the world (Romans 12:2)

  2. Wonderful word from one of my favourite bloggers, Advocatus meus, phd Tebello. I took note✏🗒❤🙌

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