Restoring Personal Purity

Restoring Personal PuritySince it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16

God calls us to lives of purity and holiness because He calls us into a relationship with Him and He is the epitome of holiness. Impurity separates us from God and from a vibrant, life-giving relationship with our Creator and Sustainer.

What is impurity? When people think of impurity, they often think of having committed some particular act, often sexual. While disregarding God’s purposes for sexuality can certainly contribute to one’s impurity, it is not how purity and impurity are exclusively defined. We are impure because we are sinful; we worship ourselves and other things before God. And this is not just something we do, it is tied to our core identity. Sin is in our DNA. It is the human condition.

Sin and impurity separate us from a life-giving relationship with God—the kind that empowers a life free of the bondage of addiction. Some of us have particularly troubling memories from our impure pasts. In our drinking days we were promiscuous, we did not guard our hearts or our bodies as temples, we did not care about God’s plans for us, and we waged a deliberate war on any shreds of purity that might have existed within us. Now we are left wondering, where do we go from here? After so many years of intentional impurity, is it possible for purity to be restored?

If you have been called by God and you have had your heart softened to trust in Jesus Christ for salvation and redemption, you are restored. His purity, His holiness, and His favor become yours as a gift of grace. Because Christ is pure, and you are in Christ, you too are pure.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 

But it does not stop here. The Christian life and the life of recovery start with the powerful work that God does, but the rest of our lives will be an intentional effort to grow into God’s ideals for us. What does that ideal look like? It looks like Jesus.

The desire for purity comes from a deep understanding of and reverence for God’s holiness. When we know God and we understand His great love for us, we want to be like Him. We recognize that our sinful behavior of the past—the types of activities that society calls ‘fun’—only drew us farther away from our greatest source of joy—God Himself.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8

God’s guidelines around purity were not devised to limit your enjoyment of life—they were meant to increase it. Think about your years living in addiction and impurity. You felt ‘free’ to do whatever seemed best to you. But how did it make you feel? Were you happy? Would you have described your life as joyful, hopeful, or free? This is what we sought in drugs, alcohol, food, and sex, but never found.

The pursuit and restoration of holiness and purity is not a long walk of drudgery, deprivation, or asceticism. It is the joyful excitement of a child living free of the burdens of sin, worry, and an anxious conscience. It is the peaceful knowledge that we have been forgiven and that we live before God clean, restored, and refreshed.

No matter how you have sinned in the past, no matter how you devoted yourself to impurity, no matter how you still struggle today, in Christ you have forgiveness. You are washed clean by the blood of the lamb and you are placed in a position of purity. Your past is forgotten—you are now free to live beyond it.

Continue to pursue God. Know His character, study His holiness, and seek to be like Him. While we cannot make ourselves pure or holy, when we earnestly desire to be like Christ, the Holy Spirit changes our hearts, our minds, and our behaviors. We become like him. We become pure. Though we may backslide, when we repent and desire to turn from the behaviors that turn us away from God, we are forgiven and restored. This is grace and it is waiting for you. Lay your impurity at the foot of the cross and live free.

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. Psalm 24:3-4