I never had a purity ring. A lot of my friends did, but for some reason, that was never a tradition in our home. Purity is a very big part of our Christian culture. We host “Purity conferences” for girls, not so much for boys. We talk to girls about their purity and the dangers of giving that away or losing it through sin and poor choices. We frame the loss of female virtue in terms of being damaged, used, or dirty. The word purity is defined as: “freedom from contamination, freedom from immorality, especially of a sexual nature.” Its synonyms include “virtue, morality, piety, honor, modesty, decency and righteousness.”
Some groups use stories comparing the loss of female virginity to flowers that have been stripped of all their petals and crushed or chocolate that is unwrapped and passed around the dirty hands in the room or even to old chewed gum that nobody wants anymore.
I find it interesting that the point of these illustrations isn’t to condemn the hands that tear petals from flowers, or unwrap and handle someone else’s chocolate or even mangle a stick of gum. It is to make the point that these objects, objects that represent women, are now unwanted, dirty, disposable, and nearly worthless. That is the resounding message. Your value is directly tied to your chastity.
You can imagine the sobering effect that message has on the girls…the fear of losing your value, your worth in the eyes of your future husband. You can imagine the crushing load of shame those messages heap on the already hunched shoulders of girls in the room who have already crossed that line. Their petals have already been torn off, with or without their consent. While these messages might serve as a warning to some people who have not crossed those lines, and they might deter some young people from sexual activity before marriage, they miss the entire point.
The truth is that not one of us is qualified to wear a purity ring. Purity is something we are born without. We are conceived in sin. We are born in sin. We are born guilty, not innocent. Purity is not something we can guard and protect. It is something we never had in the first place. Purity is not something that we achieve through self denial and wielding our bodies in a way that avoids sin. Purity is not the objective. Because purity cannot save us. Only Jesus can. And He makes us far more than pure. He makes us holy. Holy is the same word used to describe the triune, eternal God. Holy. Holy trumps pure. It consumes it in blinding white light. And we are Holy. We are not holy because we have saved ourselves for marriage. We are not holy because all of our “petals are perfectly intact.” We are holy because the Holy God put on us the righteous standing of His Holy Son who paid the price for our sin. He was beaten and slaughtered not only for the girls whose virtue would be lost, but for the boys who would take it. And through faith in that great sacrifice, in that great Savior, we are made whole. We are made pure. We are made holy.
And now we wear a different ring. It’s a betrothal ring to a Bridegroom that has made us holy and dressed us in white. And even now He is preparing for the wedding. The culmination of human history will be that wedding, where the Bride will marry the Lamb, and we will see what this earthly shadow of marriage was a picture of.
So I guess you could say that I do have a purity ring now. My Father bought it for me. It cost Him everything. That ring will always motivate my heart to walk closely with Him. I will wear it not to stay pure, but because I already am. I am more than pure. I am holy.
*My blogs are written with the assumption that they are being read primarily by Christians. If you want to know more about what it means to be a Christian or about the gospel of Jesus Christ, click the link here:The Gospel