Purity and our Creator
He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct (1 Peter 1:15).
The world is saturated with impurities. Everywhere you look, it seems like sinfulness is being celebrated. One just needs to turn on the television or browse social media to see examples of immorality on display. But the importance of purity can be implied from Scripture right from the beginning because we know God is holy and we are made in His image (Genesis 1:27). Thus, it automatically follows that we should mirror His image. What Scripture says about purity is still relevant today.
As God’s image-bearers, we have an obligation to maintain purity in our lives.
Being made in His image makes humans distinct from the rest of God’s creation.1 We are representatives of God. Because we are made in His image, we have a special obligation to act in accordance with His will. God didn’t create us for the purpose of living in carnality. Isaiah 43:6–7 shows we were made for God’s glory.
Part of worshipping God involves conduct that pleases God. Consider the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39). Potiphar’s wife repeatedly tempted Joseph, but he refused each time. He knew it would have been sinful to do so (Genesis 39:9). Joseph’s insistence on purity and active will to fight temptation pleased God, for the Lord showed Joseph love and favor (Genesis 39:21) when he was imprisoned. Joseph chose to please God rather than the world he was living in.
Romans 12:1–2 explains that our spiritual worship involves presenting our bodies as living sacrifices that are holy and pleasing to God. Before Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, the sacrificial system in the Old Testament required a sacrifice without spot or blemish. No other sacrifice was acceptable. But since Jesus was without sin, He became the spotless lamb, for His sacrifice was perfect.
A recipe for purity
The Bible mentions many sins that we should strive to avoid. Colossians 3:1–10 describes the Christian life in two ways. First, we are to seek the things that are above where Christ is and to set our minds on things that are above. Second, we are to put to death the earthly things in us, including sexual immorality and impurity. The passage concludes in verse 10 that our new selves are being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator and making Christ our all in all.
Morality and purity
Morality can be defined as a distinction between good and evil or right from wrong. However, there also must be a standard for morality. If God is our Creator, then He is the One who should define what is a true standard of morality.2 Any self-serving standard of morality is in error if it is contrary to God’s holiness.
Moral living is also beneficial for society. Without a sense of morality, there is greater potential for societal dysfunction as things once considered to be immoral become justified and accepted. On the contrary, if society embraces God’s goodness and perfect morality, there will be more peace and compassion, although still imperfect because of sin.
This leaves atheists in a difficult spot. If an atheist wants to be a good, law-abiding citizen, the atheist will have to adhere to some principles of morality. But because atheists don’t believe in God, their basis for morality becomes subjective. They often boast that they don’t need to believe in God to be moral. But this misses the point. If they choose to follow some sort of moral code that is based upon the Scriptures, then they are borrowing from God’s moral standards while failing to acknowledge the moral law giver.
The consequences of immoral living
God, who is our Creator, is seen in Creation. His invisible attributes, including His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived since the creation of the world (Romans 1:20). Therefore, everyone is without excuse and cannot claim ignorance on the existence of God.
Genesis 6 demonstrates God’s desire for morality and the potential consequences of immoral behavior. It grieved God that men had become greatly wicked and evil. Because of the rampant corruption in the world, God sent a judgement—a Flood, saving only Noah and his family because of Noah’s righteousness.
Though God promised to never flood the earth again, we still face an inevitable consequence for our sins. Jesus reminds us that His second coming will be like the time of Noah (Matthew 24:36–40). As Romans 3:23 teaches us, the consequence of our sin is death. Sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4) and is contrary to the will of God. It is in our nature to live in sin, and as Romans 3:10–12 says, no one is righteous and does good.
Furthermore, we are completely incapable of saving ourselves, no matter how much we might try to live good and moral lives. There is nothing we can do to earn salvation. This is an impossible problem for us to overcome.
The Creator stepped into history to free us from the consequences of sin
Because of the sin nature we all inherited from Adam, our situation is dire. But we are not without hope. Our Creator God loves us, and because of His love, He sent His son Jesus to save sinners (John 3:16, 1 Timothy 1:15). Jesus became the perfect sacrifice for sin on our behalf, imputing his righteousness to helpless sinners. All we need to do is trust in Jesus, and we will be saved!
God’s standards for purity have been relevant since the beginning in Genesis. It challenges us to live a pure life, one that is centered on glorifying God above everything else. Strive to be like Joseph, who stayed pure in the face of temptation. Strive to be like the man described in Psalm 1, who meditated on Scripture day and night. Strive to be like Paul, who instructed us to always rejoice, to pray without ceasing, and to be thankful in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18). In doing so, we will bring glory to our Creator and peace to our neighbors.