Why should we grow in purity? Why should we grow in anything for that matter? If we are already redeemed and made clean through the blood of our Lord, the eternal Word of God, why do we need to do anything else?
As noted in the first session, the idea of growing in sexual purity is probably not the most excitable of topics to college students. When we gather together in our homes and begin to discuss areas of our community that need prayer or what have you, we tend to avoid bringing up the topic of sexual sin and immorality in favor of other areas that we may be struggling with. By far the most common prayer need that I have heard expressed in these settings is the need for authentic unity and genuine fellowship with one another. We desire these two, unity and fellowship, more than sexual purity. But what I have found as I have been ruminating on our theme verse for the week, Ephesians 4:14-16, is that it seems we cannot achieve the former, unity, without the latter, purity. Notice that the end goal of this passage in Ephesians can be found in verse 13. The saints, presumably us, are being equipped and built up as the body of Christ “until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (v. 13). Unity is the end—the means through which we achieve it? growing up in every way. This includes sexual purity. We are to grow in sexual purity so we can grow in our unity. Though we may, at least in expression of community needs, desire unity more than sexual purity, the former is found to be impossible without the latter.
Our God, you are our hope; you are our strong deliverer. Deliver us now from all that keeps us from knowing and loving you. Rid us of our impurity.
We begin with the understanding founded on Monday morning that our bodies have such massive potential to be used to bring us closer to Christ or move us farther away from him. All things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial. We ought to think more and more along the lines of “does this action bring me closer to Christ or move me farther away from him?” instead of “can I do this?”
How do one’s customs and culture affect her thoughts on sexuality? Can we help but fall into the vicious tendencies that the world we are born into has set before us? Perhaps we can. But we must admit that it is much more difficult to live in purity when nothing but impurity surrounds us. Maybe we should give asceticism a try (only partially serious).
Is our Hollywood-driven, adulterous society the only one of its kind to steep itself in sexual sin? Ryan does not think so. We see society after society struggling through the same stuff we do throughout the Old Testament, throughout the New. Satan knew how to get these peoples to abandon their God in favor of impurity; his ways are proven, he knows that they work. Why would he not try to do the same to us?
Awakening erotic love creates a bond, chemically, in our physical bodies. It is not simply a spiritual issue, but a physical one. The secular and the sacred converge on the issue to tell us that our impurity is not good for us. We are killing our whole selves trying to become alive through eroticism.
We transition to the issue of pornography. It goes without saying, but bears repeating, that the statistics we have so often encountered about the effects of the widespread epidemic of Internet porn are true both in the Christian realm and outside it. How can we be the light of Christ if we look no different than everyone around us?
Sexual impurity has invaded our beloved City of God whether we like it or not. We will face sexual temptation. There is no question about it. What are we doing now to prepare ourselves for the temptation of impurity that will come? The time to prepare is now, not in the moment that it comes.