Purity is a word that has (unfortunately) fallen into obscurity and disuse in today's society. It is a beautiful word defined as follows: "Freedom from foreign material or contaminated matter; as the purity of water; cleanness; freedom from foulness or dirt; freedom from guilt or the defilement of sin; innocence; as purity of heart or life; chastity; freedom from contamination by illicit sexual connection; freedom from any sinister or improper views; as the purity of motives; free from moral defilement; without spot; not sullied or tarnished; incorrupt; not debased by moral depravity or wickedness; holy" (Webster's 1828 Dictionary).
Vine's Expository Dictionary provides this definition: "pure," as being cleansed, "pure from defilement, not contaminated" (from the same root as hagios, "holy"); chastity which excludes all impurity of spirit, manner, or act." And the modern Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word this way: "chaste; morally clean or decent: not sinful; free or innocent of unlawful sexual intercourse; wholesome in thought and act (modest); freedom from obscenity, as in language or conversation."
There was a time in our society when personal purity and sexual modesty was the norm. These qualities and practices were once upheld as noble virtues to be desired by young and old alike. My, how times have changed! Today, these virtues are openly ridiculed and maligned on an almost continual basis. Those who espouse to live pure lives are often referred to as self-righteous, old-fashioned prudes suffering from repressed puritanical inhibitions.
"Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake" (Jesus Mt 5:11). As Christians, we are to be known for having a pure heart (1 Tim 1:5; 2 Tim 2:22; 1 Pet 1:22), as well as a pure mind and conscience (Phil 4:8; 1 Tim 3:9; 2 Pet 3:1). We are commanded to keep ourselves pure (1 Tim 5:22).
One way we do this is by observing what the inspired apostle John describes in 1 John 3:2-3 "Beloved, now we are the children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure!"