What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word ‘purity’? Unblemished, untouched, perfectly clean and holy. Like a bright white cloth that has never been used and dirtied. A spotless lamb. A white flower that hasn’t been bruised or crushed.
True, this is purity. This is what God calls us to be- pure. But y’know, mistakes are made.
When I was young I made mistakes and it wasn’t until I was older and I started learning about purity that I thought I was completely hopeless. I mean, I ruined any chance of true purity by making a stupid mistake, right? My chance of staying pure while I waited for Mr. Right was gone. Crushed. Destroyed. Dirtied…
My sin had ruined everything. How could God forgive me? How could I forgive myself? How could my future husband forgive me?
I tried everything to get rid of this guilt. I went to my parents very soon after and asked for forgiveness. I did what I knew that I needed to do- and it was all right.
I confessed. I was forgiven. Why did I feel guilty? Didn’t I do what was right?
I was on the right track. Confession- Check! Forgiveness from parents- Check! Repenting to God- wellll…. Forgiving myself- errrrrr…..
You better believe that if God hasn’t been asked for forgiveness, then your conscience is going to be knocking on your door.
“Excuuuse me?! Aren’t you forgetting someone? Y’know… someone really important. Someone that you sinned against??”
Then I would respond, “You don’t understand, Conscience. I asked my parents for forgiveness. Everything is all better. God knows that I won’t do it again.”
Yeah. Well, my conscience was taking none of that. “Oh please. That’s what you said when you stole the cookie from the cookie jar. You said you wouldn’t do it again. What happened?”
“This is different.”
“It just is. Now leave me alone!!”
Two days later… “Heyyyy… remember me? I’m just here to remind you of Someone who needs to be asked forgiveness from. How about we kneel down right now and talk to God? You know it’ll make everything better. You know God will forgive you. He promises.” (1 John 1:9)
“No, no… you don’t understand. God just can’t forgive me.”
Do you know how long this conversation went on between my guilty conscience and me? About three years. Maybe longer, but that’s roughly how long. Three long years of battling with my tormented conscience. Temptation after temptation arose to lure me back to my sin. Who did I have to go to? I couldn’t go to God! How could I talk to Him if I hadn’t even asked Him to forgive me? (Funny how I could justify myself not asking for forgiveness when I refused to, well, not ask Him for forgiveness!) I went three years of almost no communication with God.
“Just repent! God will forgive you!”
“I can’t. I just… can’t.”
I wanted to think it was unnecessary to ask God for forgiveness. I just kept telling myself that He knew I was sorry. But, if that was true, then why couldn’t I move on with my life and keep developing a stronger relationship with my Heavenly Father?
I got to a place where I knew and truly believed that God had forgiven me. I knew all along… I guess I just couldn’t believe that, after what I had done, any forgiveness could possibly be granted.
Within those three years, I encountered several verses, sermons, songs, etc that made me sigh and think, “Wow… God will forgive me.” Guess what happened when I knelt down to pray. The devil, the enemy of God and His children, decided to give me his two cents.
“You think God’s really going to forgive you? You are worthless in God’s eyes. You sinned and ruined everything. There is no hope for you. No grace, no forgiveness, is left for you. Why even try?”
I would persist to pray. “Lord, uh, please…. forgive me. Just please… uh…. forgive me for everything.” I stumbled over my words and kept repeating myself, still thinking of what Satan had whispered in my ear.
He continued on. “That’s your prayer?? Ha! How can you possibly expect God to listen to that pathetic whimper for mercy?”
And so it went on. For three years I was either fighting my conscience or listening to the hateful lies of the devil. I was desperate. But for what? I didn’t know.
Until I fought back. Instead of listening to Satan and believing what he said, instead of giving up after the devil had so easily convinced me that I was of no value, I prayed. I prayed a new prayer.
Lord. Please. Please make Satan leave me. I know he is whispering lies to me- why do I believe him? I beg you to help me not listen to what he says. Please. Please, please, please.
I remember that after I prayed that, I continued on with my prayer- begging the Lord for forgiveness. I cried out admitting of everything I had done. I sobbed, telling Him over and over and over again, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry…. I’m so sorry“
And so a new journey began. I needed to learn what purity is…
What is Purity?
Purity is something you read about in hundreds of books. You read about these girls who have promised to save their first kiss for their husband, who have always worn modest clothing, who have sworn their love and devotion to God forever, and who have trusted their life and love to their daddy.
Oh, and they decided all of this when they were 9.
When we think of purity we immediately think of the clean type of purity. The innocent type… the untouched type. Like a white cloth that has never been used to clean up a muddy, disgusting mess. A cloth that shines so bright with cleanliness and beauty that all anyone can do is admire it.
But what about the second type of purity? The washed kind. Imagine a cloth that was once white, clean, and identical to the first cloth. But it was used to clean up a dirty mess. It’s been soiled, crumpled, and defiled. But, once it’s been thoroughly scrubbed clean, it’s like a brand new cloth.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17)
The essence of purity is not what we were. It’s what we are now. It’s not what our past has been, it’s where our heart is now before the Lord.
Be encouraged. Know that God will forgive. He wants to forgive you. You just need to ask… He pleads with you. Just ask.
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” (Acts 3:19)
Claim the Blood of Christ
Jesus paid it all… all to Him I owe… sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow. I love that hymn and all of its words- reassuring me of Jesus’ love for me. God sacrificed His own Son for me and my sins so that I could be set free from bondage. The Father is satisfied. Our sin is wholly and completely covered by Christ’s blood.
“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12)
What else can we ask for? God has promised to forgive us.
God does forgive us.