When I was younger, I remember attending a conference where a perfectly white present was sitting before a group of girls and me. We watched as the person ripped the sides of the present as she spoke and, in the end, told us this is what we will give to our spouses if we don’t stay pure. I left that time with a mixture of sadness and honestly a bit scared. So many what-if questions popped into my head over the next few days as I wondered what would happen if you sinned in this way. Is there no hope? I also began to think about the sadness many women must have felt as they approached their wedding day with a ripped-up and broken present to present to their husbands.
I am sure many others have heard a similar analogy before, but I believe it is missing some essential things to be addressed. God created sex for His glory within the proper marriage relationship, but there is always hope found in Him even amid sin and shame. While the point of this analogy was to convince the young women to protect their purity, I think it lacked the vital reason for ‘why’ we should and what happens if we fail to protect it.
Our end goal of purity is not to present our spouse with a beautiful gift but for God to be glorified in all areas of our life
God redeems all things. Unlike this story that ends with a broken present, God’s story ends in perfection, for He redeems all things for His glory. There is a reason that Him sending His son to die on the cross for our sins ended all need for sacrifices. Jesus took the punishment and washed our sins with His blood. This analogy lacked the most crucial ending because it ended with our independent purification. We cannot make ourselves pure and holy, for we could not save ourselves. Christ made atonement for our sins. Our sins were washed as white as snow because of Christ. So yes, in our independent nature, we would present a sinful present because we are sinners, but in Christ, it is redeemed. This is good news for all of us friends!
A desire to be pure flows from a desire to be holy, for God is holy. Our end goal of purity is not to present our spouse with a beautiful gift but for God to be glorified in all areas of our life. Purity is not just a call for single people; to be pure is a call for all believers. To be pure and undefiled means that we are being untouched from things of this world, which we are reminded constantly throughout Scripture that we cannot serve God and the world.
“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,” Titus 3:3-5.
We seek to be pure from the world because of Christ. Because of what He has done for us. Salvation from our sin impacts all aspects of our life. We should desire to be holy because the God we serve is holy, and He has redeemed us.
Marriage in and of itself is not the end goal of life. While being married and having children is a beautiful gift, our purpose in life is to glorify Christ, and those who are called can fulfill this in marriage and parenthood. The goal of marriage is to depict the gospel to others around us. It was a tangible example for us on earth of the relationship between God and the church. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth once said, “…human marriage is a love story intended to draw people toward the gospel, showing them the love of God through two imperfect individuals who lives become one in Him and who are devoted to one another for better or for worse…for life.”
Marriage should draw us individually to the gospel while also pointing others to Christ Himself. When we view marriage through a gospel lens, the call to be pure before marriage becomes clearer. We seek purity as we seek to be holy. We understand marriage and the gifts marriage brings as a way to remind ourselves and others of the gospel. We do all things to glorify Christ, including the pursuit to stay pure until marriage. With this shift in mindset, striving for purity is no longer about our future spouse or us; it is about the Holy God we serve.
Even though sinful choices could have been made, with Christ, the story doesn’t end with a presentation of a ripped up and broken present. There is comfort and hope in Christ when our failures seem loud and present. God redeems His people and redeems all things. This does not mean we have a free pass to sin; instead, we can rest in the comfort of God’s forgiveness and redemption while living each day to glorify Christ in all we do.
While the story I told, in the beginning, ended in a tragedy, this story that is filled with the gospel is full of grace and mercy. He covered our sin, and we no longer have to cling to the past but look toward the present with hope.
As believers, I pray that we seek to be pure in all areas of our lives and strive for holiness, for God is holy.
Soli Deo Gloria,
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