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.