Help in Keeping Sexual Purity
King David, the man after God's own heart, was a true believer of the Lord God. He served Him and God's people with sincerity. Yet his service was not without blemish. He committed many sins - murder, adultery, deception, greed (which is idolatry), pride, and maybe more.
When he was confronted of his sins of adultery and murder he did admit them and pleaded for God’s mercy and forgiveness. He confessed his sins and asked the Lord to forgive him and to cleanse him from them (Psalm 51:1-9). He understood the root cause of the problem of sin which is the sin nature that still reside even in every believer (vv. 7-9).
The natural heart of man since the Fall hasn't changed. Without the grace of God, without the transforming and renewing power of the Spirit working, even the heart of the regenerate can be easily enticed by the lust of the flesh and can easily yield to temptation. We men are especially prone to sexual sins, such as adultery, pornography, and lustful thoughts.
James says that "each person is tempted by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin" (James 1:14-15). But "blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him" (James 1:12).
Within the context of James, those who love God are the ones who do not only hear His Word but obey the Word of God as well (James 1:22). Every Christian could be more careful and vigilant in the face of temptation, especially sexual temptation, by paying more careful attention to the Word through the obedience of it.
James is saying that "mere listening" to the Word of God will lead to self-deception. “Do what it says...the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:22b, 25).
Sexual purity is one of our goals as Christians, especially for us Christian ministers. As children of God, the standard is this: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity...because these are improper for God's holy people” (Eph. 5:3).
The Apostle Paul also said, "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God" (1 Thess. 4:3-5). He further commanded his younger co-worker in Ephesus to “flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Tim. 2:22).
Yet sexual sin is one of the strongest battles that many of us men – married or single, pastors or laymen - are constantly struggling with. We are continually beset by this iniquity. I pray that God, by His Spirit, would enable us to keep fixing our eyes on Jesus and throwing off every sin that so easily entangles us, even the sin of sexual immorality or impurity (Hebrews 12:1, 2).
May the Lord of mercy and grace spare us and our families from the sting of this sin! May the Lord of the Church save His body from further shame because of this sin. May the righteous Lord put a stop to the disgrace His people – the young men and women, His ministers and under shepherds – cause upon His holy name because of this sin!
To all my single friends and brothers and sisters in Christ who want to honor Christ in their singleness, here's practical wisdom from a respected pastor-theologian of our time:
"Every unmarried single Christian is called to sexual purity... there are practical ways to live out this calling. God gives grace to those who seek to honor him by preserving their chastity. However, anyone who struggles with sexual self-control should make spiritual preparations for marriage. For men, this means learning to live for others, practicing the self-sacrificing love of Christ. For women, this means learning to serve others, living in submission to Christ."
He continues, "Unfortunately, many Christian men are too self-centered to get outside themselves and love others. Often they get caught up in secret sexual sin, including pornography and masturbation. Relationally broken, they settle for the false intimacy and false acceptance of self-fulfillment without ever learning how to love a woman. The sad result is that many good Christian women suffer for the want of a good Christian man. It would be better for all concerned if these men (and also these women) made spiritual preparations for marriage, and the best way to do this is to grow in submission and sacrifice" (Philip Graham Ryken, "Exodus: Saved for God's Glory," 634).