Parents are called by God to guard the innocence of childhood. This is a serious challenge in today’s society. From early on, boys and girls are surrounded by the visual images and messages of a highly sexualized culture. The Christian parent may feel overwhelmed by their role. But parents today—as always—are equipped for the job. The Word of God is sufficient. The Bible provides all that is needed to help boys and girls respect themselves and others, understand why male and female are not the same but complementarily different, resist temptation, and protect human life from the moment of conception. When sin and failure occur, the Bible points the way to forgiveness and hope in Jesus Christ.
One topic that perhaps most intimidates and even confuses parents is sex and sexuality. Sex education sounds like a good idea, especially if it is taught in a Christian environment; however, the origin of sex education is not biblical. It is founded on a humanistic and secular theory.
A zoologist and follower of Charles Darwin by the name of Alfred Kinsey concluded that children are “sexual from birth” and can enjoy and benefit from early sexual activity. He believed that society should reflect his “science” by altering its moral codes. Thirty years of study by researchers such as Judith A. Reisman, PhD., prove that Kinsey’s research was built on sexual experiments by known pedophiles on children ages five-months to 14 years. The research was both fraudulous and criminal; nevertheless, it accomplished what it intended. By the 1960s, Kinsey and his followers were recognized as the “experts” on matters of “sexuality.” Kinsey associates and students opened the doors of SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S.) and partnered with Planned Parenthood to aggressively make their way into schools and churches. Pro-homosexual and pedophilia groups were emboldened. Over the next fifty years, moral codes based largely on the biblical worldview were dangerously compromised. Never before had anyone considered a child to be “sexual” in the way that Kinsey meant, but today children are sexualized not only by the media but in sex education, health or “family living” classrooms. The innocence of children is stripped away in classrooms where boys and girls together learn about their bodies, what their parents do in the bedroom and what it means to live a “sexual” life.
God calls us to holy living.
God does not call His children to be “sexual.” He calls His children—of all ages— to be holy. Therefore, the Bible does not educate in sex, but instructs in purity.
Purity is not prudish. It is prudent. Purity is not Victorian and antiquated. It is God’s plan for children and adults whether married or single.
Purity focuses on our identity as redeemed sons and daughters of God in Christ Jesus. God says, “Be holy for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). We are “vessel[s] for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:21). Daily remembering our Baptism, we see ourselves not as “sexual beings” captive to instinct and desires, but as heirs of the promise and clothed with the righteousness of Christ (Galatians 3:27-29).
Purity is about more than abstinence. Abstinence says, “No, I can’t be sexually intimate right now.” But purity says, “Yes, I can be the male or female God created me to be right now.” Instruction in purity begins with an explanation of biblical manhood and womanhood. It draws attention to the many ways that male and female, of any age and married or single, can work, worship and serve together without a hint of sensuality.
Purity is about God’s design and order for life. It is also about mystery and modesty. God’s Word says, “Do not awaken love or arouse love before its proper time” (Song of Songs 3:5b). This is why purity must be nurtured in a special garden tucked safely behind a protective fence. That fence is the boundary of home. God entrusts the training of children to their parents. Children trust parents. The Church supports parents by equipping them with God’s Word of Law and Gospel, the catechism, and models for instruction.
Purity is nurtured in an environment where modesty is preserved. This is not a classroom where boys and girls together learn about sex or sexuality. It is nearly impossible to train in purity when intimate topics are discussed between boys and girls in a common and casual manner. Why? Because holy people and the behavior God expects from them are not common but, rather, uncommon.
Modesty emphasizes the importance of the sexual organs (which God placed out of view and behind hair, 1 Corinthians 12:23) reserved for the special and honorable use within marriage. Rather than trying to remove embarrassment (a natural protection from God in a sinful world), adults should do everything they can to maintain modesty. A father can best explain to his daughter that there is mystery in more clothing rather than less, and that a girl’s behavior can raise—or lower—a boy’s standard of thinking and behavior. A father can encourage his son to guard a woman’s virtue and lead him away from the “temptress” (Proverbs 7).
Purity grows from the truth of Genesis. The first man and woman were created in a complementary but different way, each with a unique and vital role. Purity understands that a man is a good steward (Genesis 2:15) and defender of life (Genesis 16-17) who takes a stand against evil. The man is to lead, not as lord and master, but as one who goes first to make sure the path is safe. Purity understands that a woman, as a “helper” (Genesis 2:18) and a “rib” or “pillar” (Psalm 144:12b), is strong and supportive, yet vulnerable to abuse. Purity understands that a woman, as the bearer of life, has the most at stake; therefore, it places her within protective, yet pleasant boundaries.
These boundaries are drawn by God to respect the physical and psychological differences between male and female. Woe to those who attempt to erase these boundaries by pretending that boys and girls are “the same”. Woe to the adults who remove the protective covering of modesty and desensitize children. Woe to the adults who dangle the carrot of joyful marital union in front of children but then tell them to “wait” for marriage after graduating college and securing a job.
God Gives a Model to Parents.
God has given all parents and grandparents a model for the instruction of purity in Titus 2:3-8. Older men are to mentor younger men by being examples of sobriety, dignity, self-control, sound faith, agape love, and steadfastness. In addition, older men are to model the sacrificial love of Jesus (Ephesians 5:25). This love is shown today by men who defend the honor of women, rescue children from abortion, and guard the door of homes. For a young man, it means treating all girls as he wants his sister, mother, grandmother, and someday-wife to be treated.
Older women are to mentor younger women by being examples of goodness, self-control, purity, homemaking, kindness, and respectfulness for God’s orderly design in marriage. In addition, older women can contrast the “temptress” with the holy woman who calls attention not to self but God (1 Timothy 2:9-10; 1 Peter 3:3-4).
If there is no father present or involved, mothers can point both sons and daughters to their Heavenly Father who is very present and involved in the lives of His children. Timothy was raised to purity of faith and behavior by his mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5).
Parents can be confident in raising sons and daughters to a life of purity. They need not be intimidated by the world—or by their own past. Sins that have been confessed to God are forgiven and forgotten. Parents can show children the way to the Cross every time a wrong choice is made. Parents, with the help of the Holy Spirit, can help sons and daughters resist the temptations of a self-focused and sensual world.
It is an awesome thing to know that the God who calls us to holiness also saves us when we are not. Even when all seems lost to sinful people, we can reclaim our purity in Jesus.
Jesus Christ came to live among us. He experienced human emotions and feelings. He knows our weakness. But for our own sakes, He calls us to lives of purity. Purity does not seek its own way. It models biblical manhood and womanhood. It raises standards for behavior and encourages self-control. Purity guards body, mind and soul. It lays a foundation for friendship, marriage and family.
Purity anticipates a future of hope.
Written by Linda Bartlett for Lutherans For Life.
Available in brochure format (#LFL903T)
from CPH or Lutherans For Life