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Have We Made an Idol Out of Sexual Purity?

Why purity is so much more than virginity.

I’ll never forget the look on her face as she shared the story of her dark sexual past, with tears welling up in her eyes.

But the ironic thing is, she was less concerned with what she had done—for she knew God had forgiven her of her past and wiped it clean—and more concerned with what others would think of her.

What if her church friends knew? Could she ever find someone to love her? Did she even deserve that kind of love?

Having recently been saved, God had pulled her out of the trenches of sexual addiction and transformed her into the start of a new life. But she found herself feeling confused. The same people that preached grace and God’s forgiveness seemed to continuously remind her of her dark past.

She had recently heard in church that when you give yourself away sexually, you have given away a piece of your heart that you could never get back. If that were true, what did she have left? Her “heart” had been given away so many times in the mistakes of her past, was there anything left to give?

It is important to honor God with our bodies, but since when did our holiness have anything to do with who we are,  instead of everything to do with who Christ is?

If you grew up in church, you’ve likely heard one of these  horrific analogies somewhere along the way:

Your sexual purity, once it’s given away is like...

“Tape that’s lost it’s stickiness.”

“Paper that’s been torn.”

“Gum that’s been chewed.”

“A gift that’s been unwrapped.”

While I get the mentality behind these messages, my problem with these analogies, and in fact, this entire discussion, is that it presents “purity” as a one-dimensional physical act.

First you have it, then you don’t. Vanished. Gone. Over. Done with. In a blink of an eye, the prospect of being “pure” and holy has been wiped away.

This mentality is so dangerous because it fools us into believing that our entire worth as believers and as “eligible” bachelors/bachelorettes is wrapped up on this one, single part of who we are.

Please don’t misunderstand, I believe it is important to honor God with our bodies, but since when did our holiness have anything to do with who we are,  instead of everything to do with who Christ is?

Church, let me remind us all that Sexual Purity is not the most important part of who we are—spiritual purity is—a purity that emanates from our entire lives because God loves us as his precious children and His great power is at work inside of us.

We are multidimensional beings made up of mind, body and spirit. As important as it is for us to strive for purity in our bodies, purity is not a one-time experience, it’s a process—a process that is birthed in us by God’s Spirit, which redefines every single thing that we do.

Jesus calls us to purity of our lives by transforming our minds: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart”; our hearts: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”; Our bodies: “Flee from sexual immorality”; and even our thoughts: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure ... think about these things.”

Our sexual history will always impact us, but it never has to rule us, because we serve the God of restoration, redemption, forgiveness, grace and love.

Our purity is not simply a product of the status of our physical bodies—but more so, it’s the condition of our souls, souls that are meant to be completely, utterly and only intertwined with the person of Jesus Christ.

We spend so much time discussing physical purity, without challenging this generation to live a life that is so Spirit-filled, Christ-centered and God-breathed that purity is just the natural overflow.

The glorious truth is that no matter who you are or what you’ve done, no matter how dark your sexual history, or how deviant your past, your physical status and sexual history does not define you. What defines you is Jesus Christ: living, breathing and working in your life here and now. Don’t let your guilt keep you from experiencing His healing and transformation. Our sexual history will always impact us, but it never has to rule us, because we serve the God of restoration, redemption, forgiveness, grace and love.

Don’t allow anyone to define you by anything less than God’s goodness and grace. And then go, and be transformed. 

This article was originally posted at

Top Comments

Beth Greenleaf-Perez


Beth Greenleaf-Perez commented…

I read this and the comments posted after. It greatly saddens me that so many people "still" don't get the genuine message of grace that is alive because of the power of the cross. God's love is so powerful that it can raise itself from the dead, and that's the power that "truly" transforms. People keep wanting to make God's love about how well they are teaching the behaviors that look like purity instead of perfect love that causes behaviors of purity. It will never be about their "good works" of teaching acceptable Christian behavior. Your message will bring people into a safe place with the Lord where purity will be a natural outcome of intimacy with the Lord, and your critics will keep shoving people out.

Ray Hartsfield


Ray Hartsfield commented…

Any time we become overly concerned with the metrics of our behavior, instead of the foundation upon which it stands, we are totally off-track. In other words, I think society has programmed young people to obsess over the fine details of purity, all the while missing the reason for purity. Why bother being pure if it's just a character trait. We've turned virginity into nothing more than an attribute like height or weight.

My wife and I write a blog about our road to recovery from infidelity and we challenge a lot of cultural norms. Check it out:


janet ireland


janet ireland commented…

in jesus' time everyone had arranged marriage, polygamy was common and so were concubines. remember the verse that says "bishops shall have only one wife"?
i don't feel any love from jesus, what's this intamacy you're talking about?

sami t


sami t commented…

Folks seem to deny that stuff about polygamy, concubines (Solomon had several).

Why do people get so down on folks asking real questions about Jesus' love?


Sara Stout


Sara Stout commented…

I agree that purity is extremely important in any Christian relationship. I can understand the analogy that you are giving away a part of your heart when you give away your purity. The bonds that are created in the act of love are real and lasting. Love is great as long as it is with the right person at the right time.

Marty Pena


Marty Pena commented…

Check out this article about the battle for purity at:

Kevin B. Hash


Kevin B. Hash commented…

two thoughts
1. if anyone is teaching you must be pure to be saved, they don't understand the gospel. BUT, in 2016, that doesn't really seem to be a problem. are we really seeing lots of evidence that the church too obsessed with purity?

2. articles like this, very interestingly, seem to only be written about purity or modesty. i wonder why. why not, "have we made an idol out of generosity?', "have we made an idol our of forgiving others?" both are commanded and expected of Christians, like purity, but would we ever think that we are taking them too seriously.
Are there unbalance people, who forget that the gospel saves us and motivates us to strive for holiness. yes. then we should say that, and not pick one aspect of holiness wring our hands about, when (based on what I see of young Christians on social media), they aren't in danger of taking purity too seriously.

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