What does purity mean?

There is a great deal of discussion today about purity.  Many churches have purity pledges, some of you may have taken them in your youth groups as teens or your teenagers now may be being asked to take them.  The idea of pledging yourself to purity is a good thing but I am afraid that it leaves a misunderstanding in your heart when you have taken such a pledge. Most of these pledges are just about sexual abstinence.

Abstaining from sexual relations is not the same thing as purity.

Please do not get me wrong; abstinence is a good thing, but it is just one part, and a small one at that, of what true biblical purity is all about.  I will be addressing this here because it is something that each and every one of us, not just hormonally abundant teenagers, must address in our own hearts and lives before the Lord.


Let us first talk about what purity is.  Purity, according to biblical language, is to be morally clean, without blemish.  Purity was essential in all of the sacrifices – meaning the sacrifice had to be physically perfect, without blemish or fault.  Anything less than that was unacceptable to the Holy and Perfect God.

Romans 12:1 tells us:

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”

If our entire lives are to be a sacrifice of worship to God, how much more should WE be as pure, spotless and clean as the animal sacrifices required in the OT worship!  So many times we think we can separate our lives into compartments:

  • my church compartment
  • my work compartment
  • my play compartment
  • my party compartment
  • my relationship compartment

We are willing to allow God control over one or maybe even several compartments, but we try and hold on to a few of them just or us.  We think that if God has part of our hearts that we are entitled to hold on to the rest for ourselves and our own plans and desires.  This may allow us to keep our pledge to abstinence, but not any kind of pledge to purity.

We watch and revel in movies or games that glorify sexual filth – sometimes even living vicariously through them or we read trashy romance novels (perhaps reading certain explicit sections over and over again) all the while patting ourselves on the back for our purity in that we are not doing those things. Sometimes we even will allow the physical part of a dating relationship (or even a flirtatious relationship with a man other than our husbands) to travel all the way up to intercourse, but stop just short of it, congratulating ourselves on our self-control! This is NOT purity in the biblical sense and is a violation of our relationship with our Lord.

Purity for the Christian is keeping our hearts, minds and bodies holy, without moral blemish or stain for the purposes of God.

So, sexual abstinence/fidelity is good, but it alone does not go far enough. We must guard our emotions, visual and mental images, and thoughts as well as our bodies, to be used for God’s will and for the future spouse God may bring to our lives.

This would lead us to examine the things we have always thought were fine and normal in a dating relationship.  If certain types of physical contact cause our hearts and minds to leap toward impurity, then that behavior should NOT be engaged in or should be stopped immediately. But, of course, once started, it is so difficult to stop. The scripture tells us:

“Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.” 1Cr 7:1


The Greek word for touch is the word that means rubbing two sticks together to start a fire.  It is better to avoid any kind of touch that will kindle that *fire* in our bodies that is so difficult to quench. For some of us (probably for most), that means any touch at all: hand holding, arms around the shoulders, or hugs. The thoughts we need to be honest about are the ones where we lie to ourselves. “Oh I can do THAT and it doesn’t stir the erotic fires inside” or “well, that is easy for me to keep under control.” Remember, the enemy’s first attack in the Garden was the deception of lies and half-truths. He hasn’t changed his tactic these many thousands of years, just his subject…it is not Eve anymore, it is us.

This leads us to begin to investigate the question of the wisdom of dating at all. We need to look at the wisdom of placing ourselves in a situation that places purity in a very precarious position in our lives, especially if it is not a relationship that we are seriously considering for marriage and if it pulls our hearts away from ministry and our relationship with God. But that will come up in more detail later.

Don’t miss more on PURITY:

Is purity an action or our identity? Can we regain purity once it has been lost?

Purity After the Fact

The Purity Controversy

The Purity Controversy

All Scripture quotations are taken from the NASB.
(images courtesy of David Castillo and artur84/freedigitialphotos.net)

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  1. wow, thanks

  2. thanks

  3. Thank you so much! This was very helpful in my teaching my young adult class about the true meaning of purity.

    • Well, praise the Lord! I’m so very glad it was able to be a help to you. And may the Lord bless you in your desire to teach and train other younger gals in the truths of the scriptures and God’s heart!

  4. Purity is too hard.

  5. Thank you so much! I will share this. I’ve taught my 19 year old daughter most of her life about saving herself for God and the future husband He has for her, and to stay pure in body and mind. I’ve told her and many other teens to imagine on their wedding day that all the guys that they’ve kissed attending. These guys talk to their new husband about how you kiss, etc. How would he feel? White dress stained. Same goes for pre-marital sex, and the guys marrying their wife unstained. Also, there’s no where in the bible where God ordains or encourages dating, kissing, touching outside of marriage. I find that God, who He is, has, can, and does bless people with a spouse without needing to experiment or agree with the worlds standards/ways. The Holy Bible has never revealed anyone dating or having to before marriage. Also, when kissing someone you may be kissing someones future husband, you’re giving part of yourself/heart away, and that kiss is in your thoughts that satan can use against you in marriage. We’ve questioned many married couples and without doubt those who’ve kissed others or even their own future spouse before marriage wished that they had not; those who waited are so very thankful; those whose spouse had not but they did are regretful; and those who waited but their spouse did not had felt somewhat betrayed but worked to forgiving. Looking at the world about dating, kissing, etc reveals the truth. Self gratification seems to be the underling will not glorifying God. Purity all the way is God’s will and should be ours. Ofcourse, it seems absurd or impossible in this WORLD today but WITH GOD ALL things are possible. As for me and my house, we will Fully serve the Lord God to His glory alone, and pray that many more will do the same. My daughter, and many friends and others that she has met are staying for Christ in their full purity. All praise be to our Lord God! He is good! Again, Thank You! 🙂

    • thank you very much . you just corrected me by your words. am grateful. god bless you

  6. The Lord wl continually water you. Hpe 2 use it in my teaching.

  7. I understand that purity is choice……and you can make that choice to be pure

    • Yes we can, but so much of our ability to stay faithful is in our dependance on the strength and power of the Spirit. Thanks for coming by.

  8. tanks and God bless u and ur family it touches my life

  9. Hello, my sister!! This was a wonderful bit of information! Thank you for being obedient to the Lord to write such a post. I am very thankful!

  10. When I need for teaching christian purity and marriage, try to search in online and saw your teaching so thanks a lot. God bless you and your works.
    Pray for me ( my trip to Canada and teaching on Karen Baptist Youth annual conference that will held in London, Ontario. at 15-16.8.2015)
    In Jesus name
    Rev; Saw from Yangon,Myanmar

  11. This was really helpful? Thank you and I can’t wait to share this with my school mates

  12. So I do ministry with inner city youth in south Florida, I recently got out of a relationship with a girl and this is so eye opening, I now realize I have amends to make with the lady and to God, this is going to help teach the kids as well, thank you so much for you words of insight.

    • Praise the Lord, Zach, that you are challenged in this area. May you continue to grow in purity in every area of your walk with God. Blessings.

  13. I know this comment is long time ago, but still has a great message:) I value purity very much and others should too! I like your insights on this, I agree with everything you say😊 Even though I’m 17 years old, I’ve have a marriage as my goals in life, I trust God with everything in my life because he knows what’s best for all of us:)) I’m grateful for finding this article as well, helping me understand what purity is and how God wants me to care for it as much he cares for me:)


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