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Purity in The Bible: How to Fight and WIN

What comes to mind when you hear the word pure? Pure water. Pure air. What about pure thoughts? Purity is a foreign concept today, but the lack of purity robs our joy and steals our peace. Today we will look into purity in the Bible and see how to fight the enemy on this issue.

With purity in the Bible, know that God does not require perfection of us. He asks us to stay in the process with Him; seeking Him, keeping our eyes fixed on it. Process, not perfection must be our mantra! Click To Tweet

What is Purity in the Bible?

On this journey to find ways to have peace we have been studying Philippians 4:8.

“Finally, breathren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 NASB (Click any of the words to go back in the study.))

So far we have learned that our thoughts lead to our actions and words. That means our thoughts can either help us find peace or rob us of peace.

But God did not leave us to helplessly navigate life! We have the ability to take every thought captive (1 Corinthians 10:3-5) and replace those peace-stealing thoughts with thoughts that lead to peace.

Today we focus on thinking about whatever is pure. However, pure is not a word we really value as a society. So to learn how to think about it, we must define purity in the Bible.

Definition of Purity in the Bible

There are several types of purity in the Bible.

  • Sexual purity in the Bible
  • Moral purity in the Bible
  • Spiritual purity in the Bible

The Greek word for purity in our passage, Philippians 4:8, is Hagnos. Its meaning is:

  • Faultless, free from sin
  • Clean – physically
  • Chase, modest

In this context, the meaning of purity in the Bible verse here is, faultless, free from sin – moral purity. You might think of it as holiness… yet another word we shy away from nowadays.

How do you keep your mind on things that are pure?

Purity is a Big Topic in the Scripture

Philippians 4:8, “Whatever is pure” is about moral purity. Thinking thoughts that are free from sin. Purity of thought! That feels overwhelming when taken as a whole.

However, sexual purity and spiritual purity are struggles that are tied up in sin. I see them all as one, but thinking through them separately may help us better tackle this one word.

We will examine all three examples of purity in the Bible to fully understand how to have peace. But first, what does the Bible say about purity?

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Scriptures on Holiness and Purity

How many times is purity mentioned in the Bible? Over 100 times, though many of them refer to the purity of the material used in the temple.

Several of the Scripture applies to our Bible study on purity today.

Bible Verses About Purity of Body

“For the priests and the Levites had purified themselves together; all of them were pure. (Ezra 6:20 NASB)

The priests routinely purified themselves by bathing, washing clothes, and fasting from touching anything unclean or participating in anything sinful or dirty.

“let’s approach God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22 NASB)

There is something to be said about physical cleanliness and holiness. Who knew our mothers got it from Scripture?

Bible Verses About Purity of Heart

The Bible talks about purity of heart often. It is a virtue that brings blessings.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8 NASB)

The blessing of the pure in heart here is that they get to see God. I wonder at this, as no man can see God… except maybe it means they see God’s hand in life… that makes us feel so blessed. (*Something I will probably dig into another time.)

“One who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to deceit And has not sworn deceitfully.” (Psalm 24:4 NASB)

Truth is pure.

“But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5 NASB)

Love, godly love, comes from a heart that is clean, honest, and sincere.

Related Post: 13 Powerful Ways to Show 1 Corinthians 13 Love in Marriage

Examples of Purity in the Bible

You will notice that there are not many Bible stories on purity. We fall short here in every way. God is pure. That is where we draw examples of purity in the Bible.

“The words of the Lord are pure words; Like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, filtered seven times.” (Psalm 12:6 NASB)

The Word of God is pure.

“The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” (Psalm 19:8)

The commands of the Lord are pure.

“For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:2 NASB)

We are called to a life of purity as believers to worship God alone. Pure from sin; holy, as spotless as a virgin.

“‘How then can mankind be righteous with God? Or how can anyone who is born of woman be pure?” (Job 25:4 NASB)

I agree with the question. Is purity possible for us, fallen humanity? Not fully. Only repentance and surrender.

Purity Verses in the Bible With Instruction

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.” (Psalm 119:9 NASB)

Following God’s Words leads to purity.

“The way of a guilty person is crooked, But as for the pure, his conduct is upright.” (Proverbs 21:8 NASB)

Somehow, living in purity avoids guilt.

Your eyes are too pure to look at evil, And You cannot look at harm favorably.” (Habakkuk 1:13 NASB)

Purity can not even look at evil.

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:27 NASB)

A life of purity comes when we spend our lives helping others rather than indulging ourselves.

“as they observe your pure and respectful behavior.” (1 Peter 3:2 NASB)

Purity is tied to respectful behavior somehow.

“And everyone who has this hope set on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1 John 3:3 NASB)

Hoping in Christ purifies us. This is beautiful!

Warnings About Purity

“But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his trickery, your minds will be led astray from sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:3 NASB)

Devotion to Jesus should be pure, without selfish ambition or sinful expectations.

“For then I will restore to the peoples pure lips, So that all of them may call on the name of the Lord, To serve Him shoulder to shoulder.” (Zephaniah 3:9 NASB)

Somehow the effectiveness of our prayers and service is tied to purity.

“Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22 NASB)

A pure heart comes when we pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. Funny that pursuing peace is a way to find peace. This refers to sexual purity in a stark way. Don’t play around with it, seeing how close you can get without sin. Run. Flee. That leads to purity.

How to Fight the Enemy for Purity in Thought PinIt (Peace of Mind #Anxiety #chrisianliving #Philippians 4:8 #sexualPurity #purethoughts #selfCare)

Why Is Purity Important to God

“because it is written: “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16 NASB)

God is holy. He is sinless, spotless, and blameless. He longs to be in a relationship with us, but sin separates us. That is one reason there were so many purity laws in the Bible for Old Testament believers.

Over and over again Scripture tells us to be holy, and pursue holiness (Hebrews 12:14). Why? Because God is holy and we are to become more and more like Him as we walk with Him.

So we pursue holiness or purity.

  1. Sexual purity in the Bible
  2. Moral purity in the Bible
  3. Spiritual purity in the Bible

The first way to pursue purity is through sexual purity. It is the most straightforward of all 3 types of purity.

Related Post: How to Embrace Sex in a Christian Marriage as a Rape Victim

Sexual Purity

It is critical we evaluate our thoughts, because of how normal it is to be bombarded with sexual images and innuendo.

We have to ask ourselves (daily, maybe hourly):

  • Do our thoughts line up with God’s design for healthy sexuality?

One man with one woman for life (Genesis 2:24).

When our thoughts linger on anything outside God’s design – nudity, erotic scenes on TV, erotic reading, pornography, flirtations outside of marriage, affairs (even emotional affairs face to face or online), gender identity, sexual identity, etc. -we are thinking impurely.

Related Post: Spiritual Fasting for Breakthrough: The Key to Awakening

How Sexual Impurity Robs Your Peace

  • Identity Crisis:
    • That daily diet of impurity can cause us to question our beauty, question our worth, and question the adequacy of our mate (1 Samuel 16:7).
  • Discontentment:
    • Those images whisper doubt about how content we should be with our partner (Proverbs 14:30).
  • Curiosity:
    • The constant assault can sow seeds of curiosity that left unchecked lead us down paths of infidelity (Matthew 5:28).
    • All the enemy needs is a foothold into your mind to lead you toward full-blown sin (James 1:14-15)
  • Lasting:

Related Post: 10 Ways to Love the Lord With All Your Mind

Why We Have to Fight For Sexual Purity in our Thoughts

This one is personal for me…  believe it or not, I used to struggle with this part of God’s character.  I thought God was laying down rule after rule like a cosmic killjoy.  Sex was fun and I was angry that God was restricting that fun in my life.  

The truth about God is far from that.  God is not a God of Laws as much as He is a God of Love.

God loves us so much that He doesn’t want us to be hurt unnecessarily.  He sets up boundaries around the things that can hurt us. HE tries to get our attention before we hurt ourselves.

When we dabble in things that are impure, we allow the enemy a foothold into our minds and he is quick to steal our peace.

I spent a portion of my life devouring romance novels and watching pornography (I know it’s not the norm for women to admit to this struggle… but I know I am not alone).

Purity in thought is an area I wrestle with actively.

Related Post: 11 Steps to Start Overcoming Pornography Biblically for Life

How To Fight for Pure Thoughts

  1. Guard Your eyes.  
    • Be careful what you watch (Psalm 119:37).
      • Limit how much romance and sex I put in front of my eyes.
      • When there is unexpected nudity or sex I practice the eye bounce…
        • You may see something sexually impure, but then immediately look away instead of continuing to look.
  2. Guard Your Thoughts.
    • Romance in entertainment as well as sexually explicit material sets us up with unrealistic standards.
      • There is no perfect man or perfect life.
    • I have had to stop daydreaming and live firmly in reality. (1 Corinthians 6:18 )
      • It can be easy to daydream when things are not great, but it breeds discontentment and sabotages my marriage.
  3. Pour Scripture in to Push the Impurity
    • That is the only way I know to take those impure thoughts captive and replace them with purity. (Galatians 5:16)
  4. Pray
    • Prayer helps keep me pure as it connects me with the Father and invites Him into the struggle!

Rape and Abuse

Can I be super honest with you? Purity has been a struggle in my life since I was a small child. Rape is a part of my story. Abuse is a part of my story. Those things tainted my body, heart and mind at such a young age… it still haunts me.

If that is part of your story as well, I get it. Purity is a difficult hill to climb. Keep leaning into God! He is right there with you! He never left you and will help you walk through this to victory!

Two things that may help you… Learning to forgive – your abuser, God, and yourself. That has helped me so much. Learn more about that here ~> How To Forgive Without An Apology: Pre-Forgiveness

And some testimonies from others… here is one of mine ~> 3 Obstacles to Overcome with Sex in a Christian Marriage as a Rape Victim.

Moral Purity

Often purity in the Bible is referred to as pure gold. Gold is purified through fire. God is called our refiner. He goes to great lengths to burn out the sinful habits in our lives.

Sexual purity is so clear. Acting sexually outside of your own marriage is a sexual sin. Moral purity, however, encompasses the whole of sin. This is about how to have a pure mind.

Moral Purity in Thought

It is so easy to disregard this type of purity – purity of mind- as it applies to our thought life because we believe our thoughts are harmless. Wrong!

“But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it has run its course, brings forth death.” (James 1:14-15 NASB)

Sin begins in your thoughts.

Now, to be clear, a random sinful thought is not a sin. We do not have control over what comes into our minds initially. What we do control is what we dwell on, what we chew on.

When a thought about some kind of sin comes into our minds, we have a choice. Just like with the eye bounce and sexual purity. You see something, or you think about something, and realize it is sin. You can eighter look away, think about something else, and flee sin, or you can linger on it, ogle it, and dwell on that sinful thought.

Moral Purity From Jesus

““You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27–28 NASB)

The Bible is clear that sin follows sinful thoughts eventually.

Jesus took it a step further by saying thoughts of adultery are as bad as adultery. Why? Because sin follows the thoughts of sin.

“If I regar iniquity in my heart, the Lor will not hear.” (Psalm 66:18 NASB)

Your thoughts matter. Learning how to think pure thoughts is critical for your continued growth in faith!

What type of sin do you think about often? Do you regard it or prefer it, go back to it time and time again?

Those are the ones to take captive and swap with Scripture.

Spiritual Purity

The last type of purity the Bible talks about is Spiritual purity. This is about who is really sitting on the throne of your heart day in and day out.

Do you really allow God to be the boss of every single area of your life?

Where do you look for satisfaction?

How do you find comfort?

Where do you go seeking wisdom and counsel?

Is God, the God of your life? Or do you fall into idolatry?

A Jealous God

He is a Jealous God who will not share you with any other. And while we may not bow down to a carved pole or sacrifice our children in a fire…

We eat our feelings.

We shop until we feel better about things.

Entertainment is used to relax and “rest”.

We prioritize busyness and claim we have no time for prayer or Bible study.

We are idolaters. Bowing down to other things, spending more time with everyone and everything else except God. Seeking Google for answers before we ever think to pray…

A Pure Heart

The goal of our faith walk is to cultivate or grow and change into having a pure heart. A heart that seeks God first, rather than last. A heart that puts self last.

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30 NASB)

This is the goal. No idolatry. Worship of God alone. Taking everything to Him. Seeking everything from Him. Understanding our sinfulness. Remembering His holiness. And all the while approaching His throne with boldness because He is our Father.

It is a concept only just grasp but am still aspiring to…

Purity is Not About Legalism  

Having said all that about purity in the Bible, know that God does not require perfection of us. He asks us to stay in the process with Him; seeking Him, keeping our eyes fixed on it. Process, not perfection must be our mantra!

In some areas, I have had to draw a hard line in the sand about purity because I have fallen too many times. You may not need the same rigid guidelines I need… you may struggle in other areas. I never want to give a license for legalism.

Where something is not clear in Scripture, and you feel personally convicted, that is between you and God.  Remember, there is a difference between personal convictions between people where issues are not black and white in Scripture. Show love in this…

How Will You Apply Purity in The Bible Today?

Because of the rampant nature of this sin in my life, I have set up accountability and boundaries.

How will you apply these lessons on purity in the Bible?

And remember, when we are working toward purity in our thought life, we are living with peace of mind. It is a promise, that the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will be with you (Philippians 4:9)!

in HIM,

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Tiffany Montgomery

Tiffany of Hope Joy in Christ inspires Christian Women to grow in faith, live out Biblical Marriage Principles and raise Godly Children.  Join the Wives Only Facebook Group here or keep up with her through Pinterest.

6 thoughts to “Purity in The Bible: How to Fight and WIN”

  1. Fantastic post Tiffany! It is a constant battle in my mind. Pouring in God’s truth is the only way I can fight ALL of my battles as best as possible. We’ve been focusing on our mind battles around here lately and use Phil 4:8 to do just that! I made them a printable of it they keep by their beds too as I want them to have an available reminder as the last thing before bed and first thing when they wake up- I know I need that !! 😉 There is such excellent truth in here about the sex saturated world we live in. Thankfully we have a God who is Living, Active and Faithful to help us !!

    1. Thanks Lee! Such a great idea to start teaching this to our kids. I am a believer in equipping them young for handling the battles in life in a way that will give them Victory!

  2. In high school I devoured Christian romance novels for about two years. It was also the two years I struggled the most to keep my pledge to stay pure and wait for my future husband. When I finally listened to God’s voice calling me to stop reading those books, I found so much peace, especially mental peace. Thank you for addressing such an important topic!!

  3. Our society has become so desensitized in this area. Our poor children are exposed to more than we’d ever imagine just by turning on the rotten t.v. or going to the store.

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