Purity is an appropriate topic for all Christians of all maturity levels. Scripture sees purity as an essential characteristic of the Christian and sins of a sexual nature often derive much more significant and severe consequences than other sins. Consider David and Bathsheeba (2 Samuel 11) and Paul’s statements in 1 Corinthians 6:15-18.
Rick Holland preached, “A Biblical Strategy for Fighting Sexual Sin,” at the 2009 Resolved Conference to an audience of primarily college-age Christians. The Resolved conference was primarily focused on college-age men and women and the common focus of this age-group was a desire for a relationship and marriage. Such a desire is all well and good but the issue that Rick Holland witnessed was a willingness to compromise and disobey the commands of Scripture.
The most impactful statement he made within the sermon was in the context of advice he’d give to any who were in or aspired to be in a relationship. “The question isn’t how far can you go, but how holy can you be?” What ultimately brings God honor and glory? The pursuit of personal desire and pleasure or the pursuit of holiness and righteousness? The Lord is not honored when we sacrifice the pursuit of holiness for the pursuit of self-centered gratification.
Rick Holland called for his audience to stop pursuing this mythical line between purity and sin and instead pursue holiness. In his experience as a college pastor and a senior pastor, he saw all too often that men and women would willfully acknowledge the Lord’s knowledge of their hearts and compromising actions but were more concerned if their own parents had found out. The consequences and fallout of Christians who fall short in purity do not exclusively affect them but everyone in his or her spheres of influence. Ministries are devastated, trust is obliterated, integrity evaporates, and the name of Christ is besmirched.
As a teenager desiring marriage and heading to college, Rick Holland’s sermon helped shape my understanding for when I did pursue a relationship. His question, “…how holy can you be?” was mind-boggling and I am grateful for this specific sermon of his and how the Lord used it in my life. I pray that if you give it a listen that it would bring even half of the impact it brought to me.