Cross Connections

15-1

You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. ~1 Corinthians 6:19-20

It seems to me, as I survey the American Christian landscape, that purity is simultaneously an all-consuming discussion, and a battle we are spectacularly losing. A lot of my work is with high school and college students, and it is obvious to me that issues of sexual purity– boyfriends, girlfriends, boundaries, pornography, etc– are a pressing topic for most young people. Youth groups circle relentlessly around this one category (to the exclusion, probably, of other important things). Walk into your local Christian bookstore, and you’ll find an entire shelf of books devoted to purity. Some of them are exceptionally wise and biblically grounded; some are recycled pop psychology. Pastors preach whole sermon series on these topics. Whole ministries have grown up around helping believers, young and old, in the struggle for sexual purity. These are all good things, gifts of God to help wage war against the world, the flesh, and the devil.

And yet, as I look at the state of contemporary evangelicalism, and especially the state of the young people in the church, I can’t help thinking that, despite all these weapons and tools, we are losing the war for purity. And we’re not not just losing; we are spectacularly losing. Believers, especially young ones, are adrift in a sea of sensuality. Discouraging studies inform us that pornography and sexual immorality is just as prevalent inside the church as outside. The culture’s constant drumbeat of sexual “liberation” has, it seems, lulled a generation of Christians into compromise– in the relationships we have, the entertainment we consume, the jokes we tell. The Bible’s strict commands against sexual immorality– “Sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints” (Ephesians 5:3) seem to fall on deaf ears. We prefer to ask, “How far is too far?” “What’s okay to watch?” “What’s the harm?” Asking those kinds of questions, wanting to know how close we can get to the “impurity line” without crossing it, shows that we’re defeated already. What is needed, in order for us to truly be a people set apart for God, is a radical work of grace in our churches and our hearts. I believe that this radical work of grace, just like every other radical work of grace, is grounded in and flows from the cross of Christ.

SALVATION IS PURCHASE

I think that the blame for our failures in sexual purity doesn’t lie at the feet of culture (although the permissive, promiscuous cultural air we breathe certainly doesn’t help). Rather, like every other sin, the Bible portrays this ultimately as a gospel issue. Our understanding and grasp of the gospel is defective, and this defect manifests itself in wrong thinking and wrong living. When we look at the Cross Connections texts related to purity (especially 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 and 1 Peter 1:14-19), something crucial emerges: I think we have misunderstood the very nature of salvation.

Most of the time when we talk about salvation, we talk about it in the negative: I have been saved from sin, I have been rescued from wrath, I have been delivered from darkness, etc. Salvation, in most of our thinking, means being rescued from something, being set free from something. And of course, that’s certainly true. The words “save” and “rescue” and “deliver” all connote that. We have been saved, rescued, and delivered from sin and wrath and darkness. That’s wonderful, glorious good news.

But that’s not all that salvation means, and those aren’t all the words the Bible uses to describe what has happened to us. Two important “salvation words” that we use a lot without stopping to consider what they mean are “ransom” and “redeem.” Those words mean more than just, “You were saved from something.” They also carry the crucial meaning, “You were saved for something.” Specifically, the words “ransom” and “redeem” mean that you were saved for ownership; you were saved in order to belong to someone else.

You see, the words “ransom” and “redeem” are purchase words. They have to do with buying and selling. To redeem means “to buy back,” and to ransom means “to buy back a prisoner, slave, or kidnapped person for a price.” To redeem a mortgage means to buy the house from the bank by paying off the entire amount you owe. When you redeem something, you own it.

This is the crucial thing that we need to understand about salvation: salvation is purchase. Salvation is the act by which God purchases us and makes us his own. At the cross, Jesus paid the purchase price by his own blood– “you were ransomed… not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18)– and now you belong to God. He bought you; he now owns you, and has the right to do whatever he wants with you.

While salvation is about freedom in one sense– “For freedom Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1)– I think that our emphasis on freedom has left us with a stilted, one-sided view of salvation. Jesus did not set us free so that we could rule ourselves and be independent. (And even if we would never say it that way, I think our secular views of freedom have crept into the way we think about the gospel, and the evidence is in the way we live). No, Jesus set us free from slavery to sin, which is a cruel and destructive master, so that we could become what we were created to be: slaves of God. As C.S. Lewis said, “You were not made to be free; you were made to believe and obey.”

This is the missing piece in our gospel, the piece that makes so many other acts of obedience find their proper place: we have been bought by God, and are now owned by God. The gospel, therefore, makes demands on us– not so that we can earn God’s favor or merit his purchase, but because he has in fact bestowed his favor on us and made us his own. If we can begin to understand that we have been purchased by God for God by the blood of Jesus, much of the Christian life and the Bible’s commands will start to make sense, and we will have the right foundation from which to fight the battle of sexual purity.

WHAT GOD SAVES, GOD OWNS

If you have been saved by God, you are now owned by God. We are saved by God, for God. The language of purchase in salvation, words like “redeem” and “ransom” make this clear. I want our understanding of this truth to be broadened and deepened by seeing that this has always been the way God has dealt with his people.

In the Old Testament, the singular salvation event that redeemed and defined the people of God was the Passover. This was the event that decisively rescued the people from slavery and brought them out of Egypt. So momentous was this event that God told them it would literally define time for them; their calendar would restart from the date of the Passover: “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you” (Exodus 12:1).

The Passover was the event by which God purchased his people out of slavery. In Exodus 15, Moses’ song of praise makes clear that this act of purchase is the new identity of God’s people: “You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed… till the people pass by whom you have purchased” (Exodus 15:13,16).

But the full significance of this purchase is not made clear until the book of Numbers, when God tells the Israelites that, because of his gracious provision to spare their firstborn, he now owns their firstborn. “All the firstborn are mine. On the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I consecrated for my own all the firstborn in Israel, both of man and of beast. They shall be mine: I am the LORD” (Numbers 2:13 and again in Numbers 8:17).

Do you see God’s logic? In the Passover, the final judgment on Egypt, all the firstborn in the entire land were under the just sentence of death– and that included the firstborn of Israel. But God made a gracious provision, giving the Israelites a way to escape the coming judgment by putting forward a spotless lamb to die in their place. God saw the blood of the sacrifice, and judgment passed over them. But now God tells them: “In sparing you, I bought you. Every person who deserved to die and didn’t is now owned by me. Every firstborn who was covered by the blood of the lamb now belongs to me, is consecrated, set apart to be holy to me. On the day I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I consecrated for my own all the firstborn in Israel.”

This is God’s economy of salvation: what he saves, he owns. The ones spared in the Passover now belong to God. They are consecrated, which means set apart as holy to God, belonging to God, for God’s special purposes.

And that’s exactly how God’s economy of salvation works in the vastly greater new covenant. A ransom far more costly than the first passover has been paid: “you were ransomed… with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:19). “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7). “A death has occurred that redeems [us] from transgressions” (Hebrews 9:15). And just like it has always been, what God saves, God now owns. “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

And what, now, is the significance of this purchase? In the old covenant, the external ritual sacrifice meant that God owned the firstborn in an external, ritual sense. But just as the new covenant sacrifice and salvation is so much greater, so also God’s ownership is correspondingly greater. The blood of Christ forgave all our sin, procured an everlasting future of joy for us, bought every promise as ours forever, and secured the Holy Spirit’s work in transforming us from the inside out. Such a great salvation means that God’s ownership of us is just as great. He doesn’t just own you in an external, ritual way; he owns all of you, heart and soul and body and mind. He owns your past, present, and future. He now claims exclusive ownership and command over all thoughts, feelings, actions, and plans. Everything that you are now belongs to him, to be commanded by him as he sees fit. You are no longer your own; you were bought with a price.

The two texts we will now look at, in order to unpack this ownership further and see how it relates to purity, are 1 Peter 1:14-19 and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. These two passages deal with God’s gracious ownership of us, and its implications for our holiness and purity. 1 Peter 1 talks about holiness; 1 Corinthians 6 talks about purity. But those are really just synonyms: both mean to be wholly and completely set apart for God.

BE HOLY, FOR YOU WERE BOUGHT

1 Peter 1:14-19 connects the costly price paid for us to God’s ownership of us, and our necessary holiness.

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

You can see the connection to purity in the two commands, one negative and one positive: “Do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,” and “Be holy in all your conduct.” The passions he is talking about, while referring to sinful desires broadly, have the specific connotation of sexual immorality. Paul equates these passions to sinful lust in Romans 1:27, and later in this letter, Peter forbids believers to take part in “what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.” The call to be holy means to be set apart, consecrated, every part of you, to obedience to God.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, Paul brings these two commands together and helps us see how Peter’s command here relates to sexual purity. “This is God’s will, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God.” Lay 1 Thessalonians 4 on top of 1 Peter 1 and we can see how 1 Peter relates to sexual purity: the avoidance of passion and pursuit of holiness is God’s will for us, especially in relation to sexual purity.

GOSPEL FEAR

As we keep reading, we see how Peter connects this call to sexual purity to the cross, and God’s gracious ownership of us. “If you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed…” The reality that our heavenly Father is a holy and impartial judge, Peter said, should fill us with an appropriate holy fear of displeasing him. He is a gracious, lavish, blessing, pursuing Father… but he is also a holy, wrathful, sin-hating Father. We must never lose sight of both sides of our Father’s heart. If we lose sight of his kindness, we will only view him with a slavish fear– and that’s not the kind of fear Peter is talking about here. But conversely, if we lose sight of his ferocious holiness, we will forget that our Father has high standards for his children and will miss the whole meaning of the Lord’s prayer: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” That means, let your name be seen as holy, held in reverence… starting with me and everyone who sees me.

Those two things– our Father’s holiness and his great love for us– are hard to hold in proper relation to each other. That’s why Peter says that we are to conduct ourselves with fear in a certain, specific kind of way. He says to conduct yourselves with fear… knowing something. “Conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile knowing that you were ransomed.” In the ransom that God paid for us at the cross, we see God’s holiness and love brought together. Any kind of fear that lacks this knowledge of redemption will ultimately prove destructive. But fear of God that says, “Father, you are holy… and you have redeemed me,” is the kind of fear that Proverbs 14:27 talks about: “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life.” This is not slavish fear of punishment; this is the fear of a child who knows his father’s love and delight and therefore eagerly wants to please him. Only a knowledge of gospel redemption can create this kind of fear in our hearts.

Peter continues, pushing us farther into the language of purchase. The gospel fear that we need to cultivate, the kind of gospel fear that will lead to a joyful pursuit of holiness and sexual purity, knows that we have been ransomed. Therefore it follows that the more we know and understand about this ransom, the greater our gospel fear will be. And so he continues: “You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers…” This means that we have been purchased out of a slavery far more destructive than the Israelite’s slavery in Egypt; we have been purchased out of an inherited slavery to sin.

PRECIOUS BLOOD

What was the cost of this purchase? Peter continues: “You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” No mere gold or silver or any other perishable thing could pay for the great cost of our sin; nothing we could offer to God could come close to the price necessary. Psalm 49 lays out this problem and solution in a beautiful, gospel-foretelling way:

“Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, that he should live or forever and never see the pit… But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me.” ~Psalm 49:7-9,15

It is impossible to ransom yourself, or to ransom anyone else, because “the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice.” The nature of sin– infinite crime against an infinite God– means that no human ransom could ever suffice. The price is impossibly high. The value of your life is simply not enough to pay the ransom. And also note who demands the ransom: not the devil, nor any person, but God himself. “”Truly no man can give to God the price of his life.”

But God (oh how precious are those gospel words!), but God will ransom my soul, the psalmist declares. Only God can pay to God what God requires, and so the impossibly high price is paid by God himself. The psalmist doesn’t elaborate on how this could be done, but standing on the other side of the cross, we know the full reality that Psalm 49 points to: only the precious blood of Christ, the God-man, could pay the impossibly high price of the ransom.

It would do us well to linger longer here, on the words “the precious blood of Christ,” and let the full weight of these words sink further into our souls, so that they will have the effect that Peter intended: an increased reverence and fear leading to joyful, pure, holy living.

To feel the full weight of these words, consider why the price had to be paid. Sin is an infinite crime against an infinite God that deserves an infinite punishment. One moment of less-than-perfect love, misplaced trust, or ugly pride is enough to justly condemn you to an eternity of punishment in hell. And you and I stand guilty of literally millions of those moments. Jesus said that the most basic summary of God’s law was “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). I don’t think I have ever done that, even once; I have never once loved God with every emotion in my heart and every fiber of my being and every thought in my head. Never once. And neither have you. That means that each and every moment of your entire life fails to live up to even the most basic summary of God’s requirement. Every moment of my life, by itself, merits an eternity of punishment. How many eternities of punishment have you and I earned by our costly disobedience? Countless millions. Truly, no one can give to God the cost of his life, for the ransom is costly and can never suffice. If left to pay it ourselves, endless ages of eternal punishment will never exhaust our guilt.

Stand in wonder, then, that the Son of God, in one act of sacrificing himself in your place, paid the entirety of your debt… and the debt of every person who would ever trust him! Six hours on the cross exhausted the infinite debt of countless millions, each of whom owed countless millions of eternities of punishment. And all of that guilt was paid for by one man, on one day, in one final sacrifice.

How valuable, then, must the Son of God be, to be sufficient to pay the full ransom for all God’s people by himself. “The precious blood of Christ” hardly begins to describe the great worth of Jesus Christ. He is infinitely glorious, infinitely worthy of everlasting praise. He is the most valuable Reality in the universe, the very definition of beauty and splendor, the King of all creation, the One by whom and for whom everything exists. So, when he steps forward to offer the price of his life, the sheer value of his divine person means that his sacrifice pays for all the sins of all who trust him across all of history, and purchases them for himself for all eternity.

Oh, how the great worth of Jesus should move us to worship! We were made to behold his beauty, to be satisfied by his steadfast love, to delight in his glory, to revel in his worth. And nowhere is his beauty, steadfast love, glory, and worth more clearly displayed for the everlasting enjoyment of his people than at the cross, where he made us his forever. In the light of his great glory and worth, the call to holiness is simply a call to embrace what is most beautiful, most satisfying, most thrilling– Jesus himself.

The ultimate aim of holiness and sexual purity is the fullness of joy found in knowing and seeing Jesus’ glory and worth, especially in the cross. “Blessed are the pure in heart,” Jesus said, “for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8). Only the offer of superior pleasure and joy found in seeing God and reveling in his preciousness can draw us away from the counterfeit pleasures that sexual impurity offers. No willpower, no accountability, no helpful strategies for avoiding temptation, are sufficient to attack the sin of sexual impurity at its root and sever its power. The promise of seeing God– both one day in heaven, and today more clearly in his word, in worship, and in the world– is the only motivation I have found that is sufficient to break the chains of lust and sinful sexual pleasure. Anything that draws me away from fellowship with God and clouds my soul’s sight of him is my tragic loss, and anything that enables me to more clearly perceive and know his worth and beauty is my treasure and gain. Truly knowing that, and feeling its reality in your heart, is the secret to overcoming lust and sexual sin.

PRICELESS… PRECIOUS… PLEASURE… PURE

Let’s unpack these truths in a practical way. Based on that text in 1 Peter and the glorious worth of Jesus that it points to, I think that the fight for sexual purity can be expressed in four steps: priceless, precious, pleasure, pure. The first step in the fight for purity is the fight to see Jesus’ priceless, matchless worth. One way to do that is what we just did: meditating on his priceless blood shed for me, and the great cost that he paid to redeem us. Other ways would be to read the Bible with a particular eye for Jesus’ glory, his promises, his beauty, all the while asking the Holy Spirit to help you see his priceless value.

PRECIOUS

The next step is to bring your values system in line with his great value; in other words, to see him as precious. It is possible to acknowledge something as priceless without actually valuing and experiencing it as precious. For me, front row tickets to the Super Bowl would be a good example of that; I know that those seats are worth thousands and thousands of dollars, but I’m not much of a football fan (sorry!), so I would not esteem those priceless tickets as particularly precious to me. Is Jesus like that to you? You might acknowledge that he is glorious and valuable, but your values system and the way you actually make choices says something very different. In order for Jesus’ great value to take its proper place at the center of our own values system, for his priceless worth to become precious to you, you and I must earnestly pray for the Holy Spirit to change our hearts. If Jesus’ glory and beauty and fame and power and love are not precious to you, pray! Pray all night if you have to, that God would take the truth you see in Scripture and make your cold heart believe it. Without this step, I truly believe that sexual purity is impossible.

PLEASURE

The third step in the fight for purity is pleasure; that is, to strive for Jesus’ priceless worth, valued by you as precious, to actually become your joy and delight. Over and over again, this is the prayer of the Psalmist; asking for God to help him delight and rejoice in the glory of God. Over the years, this has become the heart of most of my prayer life. I don’t say that in order to brag about being super-spiritual; if anything, it’s the opposite. My heart is so bent towards sin and impurity, and I’m so desperate for God to do what I can’t make happen on my own– namely, to make me see and embrace Jesus as better than any competing pleasure– that my prayer life has been forced into a perpetual posture of wartime desperation. The primary war that I’m fighting, day in and day out, is for what is most priceless in the universe to be what is most precious in my life, and for that preciousness to translate into pleasure; that is, that my joy in seeing and knowing Jesus would exceed my joy in everything else.

I don’t know of any other way to fight the battle for sexual purity (or, for that matter, the battle for any other area of holiness). I have only one weapon in my arsenal against lust or pride or anger or selfishness: the superiority of blood-bought pleasure in God. If my heart doesn’t believe that there is more pleasure in seeing and knowing and believing and obeying God, then I’m going to eventually give in to whatever temptation I’m facing. Willpower will only get you so far in the fight for purity; what you need far more than willpower is the power of superior pleasure. What we need is to fully believe that no pleasure that sin can offer could possibly compare to the promise, “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). And it is the preciousness of the blood of Christ which proves the superiority of the pleasures he offers.

There’s a particular way that I pray in the fight to taste and see superior pleasure in God. I’ve borrowed this from John Piper, from whom I first learned it. It’s a simple acronym, “IOUs.”

I- Incline “Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain” (Psalm 119:36). What I need every day, and multiple times a day, is for God to bend my heart to the Bible. My heart is naturally twisted away from God, and I am in constant need of his gracious miracle of inclination if I’m to succeed in the fight to enjoy him above all things.

O- Open “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” (Psalm 119:18) The second thing that I need from God every time I read the Bible is for the Holy Spirit to graciously open my eyes to see what is really there; namely, beauty, glory, and wonder that fills my soul and proves superior to every competing pleasure. That kind of glory is in the Bible to be tasted and seen, but my eyes are glazed over with sin and my appetite has been dulled by worldliness, so I need God’s intervention again and again to “open the eyes of my heart,” as Paul prayed in Ephesians 1, to see his glory in his word.

U- Unite “Unite my heart to fear your name” (Psalm 86:11). I come to the Bible every day with a distracted, fractured heart pulling me in multiple directions, most of them away from God. I need him to unite my heart in pursuit of this one great cause: seeing and savoring Jesus as a priceless, precious, pleasurable Treasure. “Unite my heart, O God, until I pray with the Psalmist, ‘One thing I have asked of the LORD, that I will seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD'” (Psalm 27:4).

S- Satisfy “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love” (Psalm 90:14). This is the goal of my praying and Bible reading and pursuit of God; the whole point of striving to see the priceless worth of Jesus’ blood and his corresponding preciousness is so that the superior pleasure of knowing his great worth would
satisfy my soul. A soul that is satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus will not be easily drawn away to the lesser, fleeting pleasures of sin, in the same way that a stale McDonald’s burger wouldn’t look appetizing next to a hot, juicy steak. The only reason that the stale McDonald’s burger of lust and sexual immorality looks delicious to our souls is because we are starving for satisfaction. “Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food,” (Isaiah 55:2) is the gospel invitation to enjoy the lust-defeating, superior pleasure of God.

Have you noticed something about all these prayers, and both of the previous steps of fighting to see Jesus’ pricelessness and preciousness? They all involve prayer, and they all involve God’s Word. The daily battle of the Christian life is to prize what is truly precious, and esteem and experience him as our greatest joy and highest pleasure. And since we see and know God primarily in his word, and since we desperately need his help to get our unruly hearts to respond to him that way, the fight for purity is fought on your knees in front of an open bible.

PURE

A heart that loves the priceless blood of Christ, spilled to purchase its praise forever, is a heart that views Jesus as both precious and pleasurable. And having such a heart is the key to purity.

Think for a moment about what purity actually is. The word “pure” means unmixed, uncontaminated, unified. A shaker of “pure salt” contains only one thing, salt. Purity is about having a heart set on only one thing: the preciousness of Jesus. “One thing I have asked, that I will seek after… to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD,” the Psalmist prayed. This singular purpose is what Jesus spilled his priceless blood to purchase for us; it is what we have been bought for.

PURCHASED TO PRIZE HIM

That’s what all the verses that talk about God purchasing us are pointing towards. 1 Peter 1 dwells on the priceless blood of Christ, inviting us to do the same until lust-defeating worship rises in our hearts. Titus 2:14 says that Jesus “gave himself from all lawlessness to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” The word “zealous” speaks of an undivided heart beating with a singular passion for Jesus. And finally, our Cross Connections text, 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, tells us that we have been bought by God in order to glorify God.

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

We have been bought by God, and now belong to God, that we might glorify God. Think back a few chapters: what does it mean to glorify God? To glorify God is to experience and enjoy him as beautiful, valuable, worthy, and precious, and invite others to do the same. The call in 1 Corinthians 6:20 is a call to prize what is truly precious: Jesus Christ himself. To “glorify God in your body” means to dedicate every part of you to the pursuit of being fully satisfied in the “pleasures forevermore” that Jesus’ blood purchased for you, and purchased you for.

Like a bride who delights to devote herself with singular passion to her husband, we have been purchased by Jesus to be his pure bride. In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul tells them, “I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:2). We, the church, are the bride of Christ, and oh how our hearts should break for our unfaithfulness to him!

The call to purity is not a call to drudgery and self-denial; it is a call to be what you were bought to be: a bride in love with her bridegroom, devoted in mind and heart and body to delighting in him. It is a call to pursue the fullness of our joy in Jesus alone and not in any lesser thing. You are not your own, believer, for you have been bought with the priceless blood of Christ. So treasure the supreme preciousness of God in your body.

Jesus, I confess that I have not loved you as the bride you have purchased me to be. My unfaithful heart has prostituted my mind and body in pursuit of lesser pleasures. Forgive me, gracious Bridegroom, and let your priceless blood cover all my failures to love you purely. Incline my heart to your word and open my eyes to see your preciousness there. Unite my heart to feel and know the pleasures forevermore at your right hand, and satisfy me every morning with your steadfast love until my heart is so full in you that there is no room for sin. Make me wholly, purely yours.

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