The fourth and final vow we must make to our spouses is “The Vow of Purity”, which says: “I commit to loving you with the purity of Jesus Christ.” But how can we gain and maintain the personal purity we need to become the kind of lovers God desires? It begins by establishing a right relationship with God. The Bible is clear that on our own, we don’t have the capacity to love our spouses the way that God intends. We can’t love them with the purity of Jesus Christ if we don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus can’t express his life and his love through us if he doesn’t live in us.
The Christian life is impossible to live. Only one person has ever lived it: Jesus Christ. But when we place our trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior, he comes to live within us— and as we surrender to him, he expresses his life and his love through us (Galatians 2:20). So the first step we must take to live out the vow of purity is to get close to God through his Son Jesus Christ, and you do that by placing your trust in him as your Savior, and then allowing him to express his life through you.
Next, as Christians, we must seek a higher standard of purity. As long as we take our cues from our culture, we are not going to love our spouses with the purity of Christ, because our culture has rejected God’s standards of purity. God is our standard-setter. He created us, and he knows the moral parameters within which we best operate. He has revealed those standards in the Bible. God’s standards are different from the world’s standards. They are higher; they are purer; they are wiser. They are designed to protect us and to provide for us. But to love as God loves we must think as God thinks. To love as God loves we need to renew our minds with God’s standards as revealed in the Bible.
To love purely, we must learn to think purely (Philippians 4:8). Now admittedly, that is a high standard. But it merely reflects the dignity of our created status as God’s image- bearers in this world. According to Genesis 1:26-27, mankind was created in God’s image. Because God is pure, we are to be pure. That is who God created us to be. Challenge yourself to test what you watch, what you read, and what you think about by the standard of Philippians 4:8. You see, when we sow seeds of impurity, intimacy dies. But the good news is that the converse is also true. When we sow seeds of purity in our marriages, intimacy grows. A byproduct of a life of personal purity is greater marital intimacy, trust, and transparency.
The third step in the Vow of Purity is to practice forgiveness in your marriage. For the Christian, forgiveness isn’t optional. We, of all people, should appreciate forgiveness and grace, for we are a forgiven people. As Christians, we have an obligation to forgive others who sin against us. In Ephesians 4:32, dealing with those who sin against us, Paul tells us that we are to be kind, we are to be tender-hearted, and we are to be forgiving. And why are we to do that? Because that is how Jesus responds to us when we sin. We are to forgive just as we have been forgiven by God. Without forgiveness, you will never experience intimacy in marriage. Forgiveness erases the sin that seeks to move our marriages toward isolation.
There is one additional way that we can gain and maintain the personal purity we need to love our spouses with the purity of Jesus Christ: find an accountability partner of your same gender who is committed to a biblical worldview who will hold you accountable to living a life of purity. Someone who will point you back to your marriage vows when you are tempted to move away from them. There is power in accountability (Proverbs 27:17). We all need someone in our lives who will help us keep our ethical edge sharp. An accountability partner can serve that role.
Church family, let’s make an effort to put into practice each of the four vows we have covered in this series: the Vow of Priority, the Vow of Pursuit, the Vow of Partnership, and the Vow of Purity. With God’s help, it is possible to follow his blueprint for your marriage through any trial or tribulation you may encounter—while enjoying a stronger, more loving relationship with your spouse that will last a lifetime.
Application / Challenge
Finish the Forty Day Challenge — intentionally apply the four “vows”—the Vow of Priority, the Vow of Pursuit, the Vow of Partnership, and the Vow of Purity—and see God bless you!