It was one of those phone calls that was unexpected, yet perfectly timed. “You will soon be presenting the message of your book in our church,” the man said. “But, I’m wondering. How will you comfort my daughter who was sexually assaulted? Her Christian friends know it wasn’t her fault, but they hint that her purity has been taken from her. What will you say?”
If we are mistaken about our identity—thinking it is something we feel or do, then we will have the wrong idea about purity.
Purity—which is holiness—is compromised when it becomes something we do.
But, purity is not what we feel or do. It is done for us!
Just as we do not choose Christ, we do not choose identity. Nor do we choose purity which is holiness.
Just as we became heirs of God the Father in Baptism, so we are made pure and holy in Baptism.
“But now says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine” (Isaiah 43:1).
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you” (John 15:16).
“For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10).
“What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, ‘I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them and I will be their God, and they shall be My people … and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty’” (2 Corinthians 6:16, 18).
We are pure and holy, not because of how we feel or what we do, but because God has made us uncommon and set apart for His own use. (On the contrary, things that are common are used by just anyone.) This changes everything about our identity. Our function in this world flows from the identity and purity that God has bestowed upon us.
This is why, for the Lutheran, Baptism is so significant. In Baptism, the Old Man is drowned and, just like Noah was saved by God’s Word and water, so are we.
“Baptism now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God…” (1 Peter 3:20-22).
Baptism saves us! It cleans us! It raises us to new life! By grace, Baptism is a means of salvation through which the Holy Spirit produces faith. This is the work of God, not our own.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Identity is not our decision, our feelings, or our work.
In Baptism, identity is bestowed upon us by God the Father with the mark of the cross. At Jesus’ request, the Father sends the Holy Spirit to dwell within us.
Purity is not our decision, our feelings, or our work.
We are made pure (holy) because of what Jesus has already done for us. We struggle daily with our fallen and sinful nature. We battle daily against Satan and the world. But covered in Christ’s Robe of Righteousness, we are God’s holy ones. Purity isn’t our work, nor is it something that anyone can steal from us. The believer is made pure and holy in Christ. It is part and parcel to our identity!
Our baptismal identity matters! We are so much more than “sexual” and temporal beings! If we see ourselves as primarily “sexual beings,” then we do not see ourselves as God does and purity (holiness) is compromised. If we identify ourselves by what we feel and do, then our purity also becomes what we feel and do. Let it not be so!
Let us cling to God’s Word in Christ that says: I choose you, You are Mine! You shall be holy, for I am holy. You have “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading…” (1 Peter 1:4)
But what about my daughter who was assaulted:
Has her purity been stolen from her?
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