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Is Sexual Purity Reasonable?

Is it reasonable to expect both women and men to remain virgins or celibate until marriage?

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G. Edwin Lint, MA

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Absolutely
! Virginity is the state of never having had intercourse. Celibacy is abstinence from sexual activity until marriage.

However, either virginity or celibacy until marriage is reasonable only when humans follow these rules:

  1. Pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is not just a one-shot trip to the altar. We're talking about a day by day, hour by hour, even minute by minute reliance on the Holy Spirit for the power to live above sexual sin. When I was a teenager in the evangelical church, we used to joke about being saved, sanctified, and petrified. The kind of Spirit filling we're talking about here is the starting point of a growth process, not being sealed in Lucite until either marriage or the rapture

    If your church's theology is of the Wesleyan variety, you may understand the filling by the Holy Spirit to be in conjunction with being sanctified in a second, definite instantaneous work of grace. If you are of the Pentecostal persuasion, you will hear about being baptized in the Spirit, perhaps in association with speaking in unlearned languages. And, if your church follows the teachings of John Calvin, you may see the filling by the Holy Spirit as happening when you first accept Jesus Christ as a personal Savior and are born again. The key issue here is not theological orientation but the reality of being filled with the Holy Spirit. You have no chance of resisting the temptations of Satan and his demons if you are not filled with the Holy Spirit.

  2. Avoid sexually-stimulating situations. If you know a certain TV program tends to arouse you, avoid it. The same is true of public beaches or even the ladies' underwear section of the Sears catalog. It's not reasonable to expect the Holy Spirit to help you resist temptation when you consciously expose yourself to avoidable stimulation. Of course, not all people are stimulated by the same things. Remember this homespun philosophy: Satan knows how to get your goat because he watches where you tie it.

  3. Avoid sexual fantasies, even about a person with whom you are in love and whom you are engaged to marry. Satan and his demons will bombard your mind with all kinds of sexual thoughts, both normal and perverted. Each time a demonic SCUD loaded with evil thoughts appears on the radar screen of your mind, activate a battery of Holy Spirit missiles through prayer, and open fire. Your prayer may be as simple as "Come, Holy Spirit" . Temptation always begins in the mind. (The heart is a pump which circulates blood and has nothing to do with morality.) Keeping your mind free from sexual thoughts calls for constant vigilance. This is not easy but it is necessary for remaining celibate or a virgin.

    During the days of piracy on the high seas, pirate ships would steer close to a victim vessel so the marauders could swing over onto the deck from the rigging. When the defending captain saw the pirate ship drawing close, he called the command, "Prepare to repel boarders!" When we see Satan's demons trying to board our vessel, we, too, need to prepare to repel boarders. Change that TV channel; leave the movie theater; close that book or magazine; close your eyes until the danger passes.

  4. Avoid petting and necking. These forms of foreplay are designed to prepare your mind and body for sexual intercourse. Since you will not be having intercourse until marriage, avoid petting and necking until marriage, also. Kiss as a means of communicating affection. Stop kissing when you become sexually aroused; you have just crossed over into foreplay.

Here are the reasons for remaining a virgin until marriage:

For information about a celibacy support group, read the sections of the Christian novel, Parsonage, which talk about Jessi Hogan's Ivory Club.

Return to "This Is For Real" at Christ Church in Nashville
Return to Ivory Club Home Page
Return to Parsonage Home Page

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