We have tried all kinds of things, haven’t we, to achieve sexual purity—to free ourselves from lust and sexual sins. We have tried will power and daily repeating of things that we will and will not do. We have tried fasting. We have punished ourselves. We have tried accountability groups. We have prayed and repeated Bible verses and religious phrases. All of these things were of some benefit, but the real power for lasting purity is in the gospel. If what we do is not empowered by the gospel (that is, by faith in Christ) we might as well give up!
My thoughts on this subject were first sparked from what Paul said to the Galatians, in Galatians 1:4.
Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father (NKJV).
Here Paul mainly, I think, is speaking of deliverance in the ultimate sense—that He might save us from hell. But this deliverance is also from this evil world, to live a pure life, pleasing to God.
Notice how our deliverance comes about. It is not by anything we do, or not even by our prayers. It is by Christ’s death. “He gave Himself for our sins, that…” This is the gospel, the good news! And it is the key to our victory in this life—including our purity.
What is the gospel? It is the good news that Jesus died on the cross and paid the full penalty for our sins. That atonement makes it possible for anyone to receive forgiveness of sins and to be holy and blameless before God (Eph. 1:4-7). In other word, because Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead, we can be justified and made righteous before God. It is provided to all those who repent of there sins and trust in Christ to save them and help them in life—to live a life pleasing to God.
Now we who have trusted Christ will still continue to sin from time to time; however, since Christ died for our sins God will overlook them (eternally speaking) and thus will let us into heaven.
But there is still the issue of sin. Even though a Christian’s sin will not keep him out of heaven, it does displease God and will reap corruption and misery (Gal. 6:8). But there is hope, and this hope is found still in the gospel. Yes, the gospel not only saves us from hell, it gives us power to free us from sin. Here’s how:
When I trusted in Christ and He saved me by His blood, I was born again. He now lives in me and I am a new person. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says,
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (NKJV).
According to this verse, because Christ lives in me, all things are new. The old life is dead, and now I have a new life. This suggests that I have a new nature, a Christ-like nature. And I have new desires. And guess what? I have a desire to be pure. (And I know this new desire comes from Christ in me.)
Another verse that I think is helpful is 1 Peter 2:24.
Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed (NKJV).
This verse tells us that when we trusted in Christ, we mysteriously died with Him on the Cross for our sins (Crucified with Christ, Gal 2:20), thus bringing about a separation from sins and a spiritual healing (thus the phrase “having died to sins”). Our life now, since we trusted in Christ, is a life lived by faith in the Son of God (Gal. 2:20).
There is no guarantee that Christians will be free of the pollution of sin, but we know that there is an incredible power available to us in the blood of Christ to live a pure life. There is both the power to be forgiven and cleansed from past sins (1 John 1:9), as well as the power to be kept from present and future sins. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says,
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it (NKJV).
Trust God for the way of escape from temptation. Believe that He will give you the power to escape through His blood that was shed for you. Yes, you have the power for purity in His blood. It already has been shed for you. Just take it and use it against the enemy and against your flesh. “There is wonder working power in the blood of the Lamb.”