Sexual purity the way the church currently presents it is outdated. It doesn’t teach young Christian teens to have a healthy relationship with their sexuality, or encourage them to discuss the topic with faith leaders they trust.
Instead, it creates a fear in them that if they explore themselves then they are less than, damaged goods, or somehow disgusting. This is all completely false, and can ruin a person’s self-worth and take them away from Christ.
There are misconceptions and lies about sexual purity that should be cleared up.
Lie 1: Single Christians are not supposed to be sexual.
Though it might sound crazy to some, there are many Christians who have grown up believing that their sexuality should remain dormant until they got married. However that’s not the case because God designed us to be sexual beings. Your sexuality is not hidden and magically comes out after you walk down the aisle.
Even if sex isn’t part of your life yet, you are still a sexual being. Sexuality means so much more than the physical act of sex – it also helps create intimacy, drive relationships and is part of our longing to be loved, known and accepted. Sexuality explores our ability to be vulnerable with someone else and sharing our soul with another person. Ultimately, this also helps us grow in our ability to have an intimate and vulnerable relationship with God.
Lie 2: Purity is only a problem for singles.
There is a huge misconception about what purity means, and how it’s described in the Bible. The word purity is used in the Bible both to describe a state of being before and after marriage. Both men and women of all ages are called to live lives of purity. In Titus 2:3-4, married women are called to live a life that is pure despite being free to have sex with their husbands. Married couples are free to have sex, but also struggle with remaining pure under God’s eye. This includes struggling with porn, fantasy, extramarital flirtations and the like.
Lie 3: Having sex before marriage makes you damaged and impure.
No one is damaged goods, regardless of their virginity status. The spreading of this lie is incredibly dangerous, especially for survivors of sexual abuse. There are virgins who are far from being holy, and former sexual addicts that now have a beautiful relationship with Christ. To be very clear, virginity and abstinence are never a direct synonym for purity. There is no truth in the belief that if you don’t save yourself for marriage, your sex life in marriage will forever be tainted, or that virgins make better Christian spouses. To say that any sexual activity makes someone damaged is to say that their worth is solely based on their nether regions, which we know is completely false.
No matter what sexual sins you have committed, Jesus gives us a way to repent for our sins and cleanse ourselves. Jesus does not look at us as “less than” because we have sinned. When we lie, which is a sin, we are not deemed liars for the rest of our lives. In the same way we are not impure forever if we commit a sexual sin.
Lie 4: We should remain sexually pure if we want to be saved.
When the church talks about being obedient to God’s commands, they usually teach it by saying that we should obey God not to be saved but because we are saved. If you walk into any church today you will hear that you are saved because of God’s grace, not through your works. However when it comes to sexual purity, all of that seems to get thrown out the window.
There seems to be this belief in churches that every single has only one chance to remain sexual pure, and if they mess it up then they are completely doomed forever. While we need to encourage people to follow God’s desire of saving oneself for marriage, we need to be doing so for the right reasons. Just like we don’t teach people that if they miss tithing once they are doomed forever, we should never teach teens that they are unsaveable because of their sexual past. We should obey because God has saved us, because we love God, because we want to reap the benefits of following Christ.
The way that the church has been teaching sexual purity to single Christian teens is alarming, and can cause a very unhealthy and distorted view of sex later on in life. Sexual purity means so much more than just sex. It’s about intimacy, being vulnerable, and opening yourself up to a beautiful gift given by God. Our sexual past does not define us, and it does not make us any worse or better than another Christian.
Your sexuality and your definition of purity should be between you and God. Only you know where you stand with God and your sins. What it means to be pure is more than just whether or not you had sex. It’s about whether or not God has transferred the purity of Christ on to you through accepting Him into your heart.