Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 14, 1966

Keep Thyself Pure

Sewell Hall

A recent issue of the campus newspaper of the University of Alabama carried an article defending pre-marital sex relations. Such articles are being seen in increasing numbers in national publications formerly considered respectable. Such articles do not grow out of a problem, but out of a frantic effort to justify what is coming to be considered as normal behaviour. The next step will be to justify extramarital relations; in fact, this sentiment is already being seen occasionally.

The prevalence of such practice is clearly indicated by figures quoted in the July 1963 edition of the Reader's Digest in an article by Jonathan Rinehart. He states that there are 250,000 unwed mothers each year and more than 1,000,000 illegal abortions. These figures become staggering indeed when one considers how little of the sin actually committed is represented by these statistics. Let it be emphasized that it is not the bearing of a child that constitutes the sin; it is the fornication and adultery, whether motherhood results or not.

If there is a single clear teaching in the Bible, it is the denunciation of such sin. "Flee fornication" (1 Cor. 6:18). "But fornication, and all uncleanness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret." (Eph. 5:3,11,12). "Now the works of the flesh are manifest which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness.... of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in the past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." (Gal. 5:19-21).

Chastity is not destroyed in a moment's time; rather, it gradually disintegrates. A pure, clean-minded young lady with wholesome home training will not fall into sin on her very first date. She possesses a reserve, a respect for herself, a moral armor that protects her. But gradually, as she observes the conduct of more worldly couples, she begins to relax her vigil. Soon she is allowing her escort to take liberties with her and allowing conversation to drift farther than she would actually go in practice. She becomes less careless about her manner of dress, appearing in public and sometimes on dates in the tight pants, uncontrollable skirts, or worse still in the shorts so common in our day. Then follow the type of dates which lead still farther in the wrong direction; swimming parties, dances, and drive-in movies where lasciviousness, lust, and lewdness are the featured attractions. Sometimes a little beer gets involved. By this time there is little or nothing that she will not do. She has lost her ability to say NO. But let us emphasize again that it did not happen in a moment; it was a process of deterioration. And what is true of girls is also true of boys.

Many homes today are cursed by unfaithfulness on the part of one or both of the companions. Here, again, such conduct is the culmination of a process of disintegration. Sometimes it is the result of contacts made away from home. But all too often, it develops where two families are very close friends. Gradually conversation is allowed to drift beyond propriety. Increasingly casual dress characterizes pop-in calls. Sometimes there are swimming parties, and we have heard such defended on the grounds that "we are such good friends." (The fact that the natural reserve which exists between strangers has already been broken down makes this an argument against such practices rather than for them.) Finally, in the many contacts made, a set of circumstances may develop where sin is almost inevitable.

The lessons in all of this is the urgency of keeping ourselves pure. We must have always upon us the "breastplate of righteousness". We must array ourselves "in modest apparel with shamefacedness and sobriety." It may seem a bit old fashion, but so is virtue. We must be careful about where we go and what we do, being certain always to "abstain from all appearance of evil." Let our "speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt." Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there by any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

-Huntsville, Alabama