UncleanNotUnknown.com – Keith B.

Unclean. Miriam-Webster Dictionary defines unclean  as “dirty, filthy, morally or spiritually impure.” How did I get that way? Of course, original sin led to that break with God and true moral and spiritual impurity. But really, what happened with me in particular?

So, what is “clean”? I believe I mentioned that God is Holy. Yeah, I know, big surprise. Because of that original sin of Adam and Eve, we can’t ever meet His standard of holiness while here on earth in our brokenness and in a broken world. So why does holiness even matter?

Leviticus 19 – 21 defines holiness, cleanliness and why they are important. Someone challenged me last week when I wrote about the necessity of seeking a life of holiness to pursue a relationship with God. I was rightly challenged that holiness is not a requirement for salvation or being seen as redeemed by God, which is true. So why pursue holiness? Well, two real reasons. One, living by holy standards gives glory to the Lord, honoring Him in our lives by seeking His standard of living. Two, living by holy standards keeps us from unhealthiness, disease, abuse, and darkness. Stark, huh?

God is Holy. He is the Holy One. He decides what is holy and what isn’t. He is picky, like I mentioned previously. He defines what is clean and what is unclean. Sexual holiness means living by God’s holy standards. In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul explained the importance of practicing sexual holiness and honoring God’s creation of our bodies. He stated our bodies are part of Christ and defiling our bodies through sexual immorality defiles the holiness of God. In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul goes further by defining sexual holiness as existing in the context of marriage between man and woman. Paul made clear that sexual holiness means avoiding any sexual immorality. All sexual sin including adultery, prostitution, homosexuality – all run counter to God’s call to holiness.

How do we become unclean? Many don’t know any better, don’t know God’s expectations for living a holy life. Some of us have a desperate need that we try to fill with something other than God. We may listen to our culture which allows for and even encourages sexual practices that don’t fit God’s definition of holiness. Whatever path we follow, all of us need a Holy Savior.

Our culture and society label those who express support for sexual holiness as intolerant or ignorant or unenlightened. So how do we live in this society, balancing the pursuit of holiness with the love of Christ for all people? I turn to John 1:17 again and again to the only man who successfully navigated being in the culture but not of the world. Jesus came in grace and truth. We pursue His model of living. Revelation 4:8 reminds me “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.” 1 John 4:8 says “anyone who does not love, does not know God, for God is love.”

God calls me as a follower of Christ to pursue His Holiness and to show His love. Grace and truth. Sexual holiness exists as His truth. Telling my story of redemption and restoration allows me to share a message and example of His grace. Grace and truth. He calls me to both.


  1. Mitch F. says:

    Good article. I see holiness not as a pursuit of behavioral goals (which is an endless hamster wheel) but as the word is defined in the Greek – we are “set apart for a purpose” and “uniquely belonging to God”. This occurs via a blood covenant. We have become holy through the blood of Christ. As we pursue relationship with Christ through the “Holy” Spirit in us (the spirit that is set apart in us or uniquely in us) He, the Holy spirit Sanctifies (also means to set apart) us and our will begins to change (surrender). Paul said our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost. The O.T. temple was where priests went to encounter the presence of God and offer sacrifices (for his own sins and the peoples). Christ did that once-for-all for us (see Hebrews). We now come to the throne of God boldly, w/o shame. Since our bodies are “temples” the issue of sex in marriage (only in heterosexual marriage) speaks of a blood covenant. In God’s original design a virgin man and woman are married and on the wedding night the “temples” engage in a holy covenant act. The hymen is broken and blood is shed. This was the first covenant act in the Bible before all the other covenants God made with man (e.g. clothing Adam/Eve with animal skin, Noah’s covenant – rainbow, Abrahamic covenant, Davidic covenant, etc.). Seeing the face of God and worshiping him not only with song, music, giving, dancing, etc. but with a daily life that is offered to him unstained by the world – that is the gateway to Holiness. 1 Peter 1:15-17 (NIV) says, But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”[a]….. “Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. We should live and walk in God’s domain. But it is not automatic. We have to make choices every day to stay on this path, reaffirming our faith in Christ and allegiance to his word.

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