Sexual integrity isn’t something people are born with or without. It come as a result of character development. Unfortunately, a lot of people have reduced sexual integrity to being a virgin. The implication is that all virgins are pure and that those who have lost their virginity have no hope of ever being pure again. The truth is that a virgin can be far away from God and impure in many areas, including sexually. The truth is also that sexual integrity is something God can restore where it’s been lost and create where it was never there to begin with.
Restoration is not easy. King David’s life is a prime example. David’s child passed away, his son Absalom rebelled against him, and his kingdom was almost overthrown. But God answered his prayer in Psalm 51:10: “Create in me a clean heart, and renew within me a right spirit.” After his death, King David was used as a standard of righteous living for subsequent kings despite having committed murder and adultery, which were capital offenses in ancient Israel (2 Kings 22:2).
There is a saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It’s a lot easier to prevent a problem from occurring than it is to fix it. I have certainly found that to be true in my life. If you haven’t erred in this area, take care that you don’t. There will be consequences, and you absolutely don’t want to go down that road. However, if it’s already after the fact, the only thing to do is move forward. The sooner you commit yourself to the process of healing, the better.
I’ve transcribed a video by Mark Ballenger on 5 lies about sexual purity that many Christians believe. Ballenger is the author of Redeemed like David: How to Overcome Sexual Temptation. The lies are 1) purity is essentially abstinence; 2) you can lose your purity forever; 3) having had premarital sex you will never have a fulfilling marriage; 4) virgins necessarily make better Christian spouses; and 5) a sexually pure person is capable of filling your inner void. Ballenger’s message is one, to value your virginity. But, more importantly, to value the integrity it’s meant to symbolize. And two, to those who’ve erred in the past: there is grace both to receive forgiveness and to move forward in life.
For more, see the complete archive of articles on integrity.
In this video, I’m going to give you 5 lies that the church often teaches about sexual purity. Hey everybody, I’m Mark from applygodsword.com, a place where we apply the Bible to your life. The first thing I want to say is that to save yourself for marriage doesn’t make you pure. A lot of bad teaching–that’s a lie. If you go into marriage thinking that you’re pure because you saved yourself for marriage–meaning you didn’t have sex–your coming in with a false purity. Yes, you’re a virgin, and that’s really good. That’s helpful. And you’ll have less things to deal with because you don’t have those other experiences, but don’t get it twisted–you don’t have a true righteousness and a true purity without Jesus Christ.
It says this in 1 Corinthians 1:30 in the NLT. It says “God has united you with Christ. For our benefit, God made him to be wisdom himself. Christ made us right with God. He made us pure and holy and freed us from sin. Therefore, as the scriptures say, if you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.” So the problem with thinking you can save yourself for marriage, you almost kind of start isolating that word “save yourself.” Look at that phrase “save yourself for marriage.” Save yourself. It’s dangerous. That’s not Biblical. You don’t have a purity without Christ. As 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, if you’re going to boast, boast in the Lord. Not in your abstinence–what you did do or didn’t do. That’s my first caution, you’re not pure without Christ.
The second lie is that you can lose your purity forever, and you will always be damaged goods. So again, the reason why we tell people to not have premarital sex, and to practice abstinence is really important because if they fail, the takeaway differs based on the motivation for practicing abstinence. If you think you’re abstinence because you have this thing that you can lose forever–your purity–then what if you lose it? Your life is basically over when it comes to sex and a healthy marriage, but that’s not in the Scriptures. God is a God of grace. God is a God of forgiveness and mercy. It says in 1 John 1:9, if you confess your sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Where sinning increased, grace increased all the more. Yes, we should be clear about the consequences of sin. We don’t want to preach this finality, and this absolute loss of purity because it’s not Biblical. God restores through the gospel, and if you failed in those ways, you have work to do. You have healing to find. But it’s not over for you.
Lie number three, if you have premarital sex, your sex life in marriage will be ruined forever. Again, I can’t say it enough. I’m not here to diminish the consequences of premarital sex. Yes, you will have to work through things. Yes, you will have to deal with things that you wouldn’t have to if you didn’t commit those sins before marriage. But don’t agree with the lie that if you sin, your enjoyment of God’s gift of sex in marriage is ruined. That’s a lie straight from the pit of hell. That’s saying that the Gospel isn’t enough for you and your marriage. That’s saying that your enjoyment of life is based upon your personal righteousness and not the righteousness of Christ. And oftentimes, when we make that agreement, we start living that lie. When I say agreement, a lie doesn’t have power over you until you believe it. If you believe that if you’ve screwed up sexually before marriage, that your sex life in marriage is going to be terrible, that’s going to be your experience because you’ve agreed with that lie. You’ve given it power over your life. So if you’ve agreed with that lie, you need to break that agreement in Jesus’s name, and agree with the truth that God’s grace is always enough. He can restore you. It’ll be hard work. There will be a process of sanctification, but it’s not a final loss when you commit a sin in that way. God can still bless your sex life and your future marriage, and your marriage in general.
The fourth lie is that virgins make better Christian spouses than people who have committed sexual sin in their past. Again, you know, there’s consequences that you’ll have to deal with as a Christian. And if you marry somebody who didn’t live a pure lifestyle before marriage, that’s something you’re going to have to work through as a couple. But just because somebody is a virgin doesn’t mean they’re going to be a good spouse. Just because they haven’t made mistakes in that specific area of their life doesn’t mean that they’re a mature Christian in all the other areas of their life. And vice-versa–just because they’ve failed in that way or sinned in that way, for one God’s grace is able to sanctify them and grow, and they’re not the same person that they were when they committed that sin. God can grow them and transform them–they’re not the same person anymore. But two, just because they committed that sexual sin in their past, doesn’t mean that they haven’t grown and aren’t mature in all these other areas.
The fifth lie I’m going to talk about here is that if someone has saved themselves for marriage, they will fill that need in you for a perfect person. You know, a lot of times people want to marry somebody with this perfect past because they’re looking for that perfect person to fill that hole within them. And that hole, obviously as a Christian, you probably know is a hole for Jesus Christ. We were made for God. We were made to find our satisfaction in him, and when our relationship with Jesus isn’t central in our life, we have this need, this lacking, for that love that we can only get from Jesus. And we misplace that feeling on other people who try to look for that perfect person out there to fill that place in us that we’re looking for.
I see this one mostly with guys looking for perfect girls. Girls within the church are really [?] in a bad way. They’re told that they need to be this perfect, pure person, and then all the guys look for that perfect, pure girl to fill themselves and validate themselves. If I can win this amazing pure girl, this must mean I am a true strong man. And that is not the case. A man should go to a woman to offer his strength not to find his strength. He needs to go and find his strength from God, not from the woman that is this perfect person that’s going to fulfill him the rest of his life. It’s not realistic. Just because someone has sinned in certain ways in their past doesn’t mean they can’t be a great spouse.
Well, if this video has struck a chord with you, you might really enjoy my book Redeemed like David: How to Overcome Sexual Temptation. This book is really helpful for anyone who has a sexual sin in their past that brings them a lot of shame, and they want to find healing. Or if you’re actively struggling with sexual temptation, this book is extremely practical and will give you a blueprint on how to overcome sexual temptation in your life. Redeemed like David is the title, and it really goes through King David’s failure with Bathsheba, and how he recovered. And it goes through the plan that David wrote in Psalm 51. Psalm 51 is David’s prayer of repentance, and God uses that Psalm today to teach us how to overcome our sins in our past, and to live a better future.
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