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Thursday, December 20, 2018

I Kissed Self-Indulgence and Impurity Goodbye - thinking about this week's catechism question

Hopewell children are working on Shorter Catechism 71 this week:
Q. 71. What is required in the seventh commandment? A. The seventh commandment requireth the preservation of our own and our neighbor's chastity, in heart, speech and behavior.
In our home, this of course led to a discussion of the word, 'chastity'. Our working definition is "self-control and purity concerning romantic things."

We've noted that just as with the sixth commandment (murder: hateful thoughts, words, actions) and the fourth commandment (Sabbath keeping: delight in the day, worshipful conversations, a day consecrated for actions of worship), so also the seventh commandment (and all the others) is one in which the Lord wants our hearts, mouths, and actions. This is, after all, the understanding of God's law that the entire Bible models and that Jesus Himself very specifically teaches in Matthew 5.

Of course, giving the Lord our actions feels impossible. And Scripture itself tells us that controlling the tongue is impossible. Keeping the heart is harder still. But nothing is more necessary--especially when it comes to romance. The battles with lust that destroy young lives later are often part of a war that was lost singing radio songs, watching Disney films, or reading 19th century novels.
Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. (Prov 4:23)
We have to start from scratch in how we approach romance: a rejoicing in God's design for husband and wife, a delighting in His specific providence to us in all things and especially in whom He has chosen to be our specific spouse, and a dedication to seeing Him glorified in every detail of our lives and especially in that greatest detail that is our marriage. It was helpful to us to have just been through Genesis 2 on marriage in the morning sermons and be able to refer back.

So, of course, I was very interested in this article, commenting on a recently popular backlash against "purity culture." Whenever our consciences bother us, the easiest thing to do is to attack the legalists. Are there people who turn pursuit of purity into something by which we may maintain a right standing before God, and who think that it is something that we can accomplish by virtue of our effort and very carefully detailed list of do's and don'ts? Sure. There are legalists out there.

But the backlash isn't against them--it's against purity itself, and it's largely from people who haven't tried it. Other people's trying it makes them feel bad. And making someone else feel bad about his sin is the only thing left that our culture views as evil.

Here's the article (skip it, if you didn't live through the Josh Harris craze in the 90s. I'm sorry for him that he has been shamed into retracting what was such good advice!).

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