Hooking Up

In the summer of 2001, CNN reported on an Independent Women’s Forum study of college-aged women. The forum, a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational group, conducted a nationwide study over an 18-month period of time, surveying the attitudes of 1000 young women. The results indicated that almost 40% of the women responding described themselves as “virgins.” At the time, the study cited an unspecified number of these young women preferred “hook-up” relationships to dating. Hook-ups were described as encounters that ranged from casual kissing all the way up to sexual intercourse, where neither participant expected any further commitment from the other party. The study also revealed that 53% of those responding thought it was a good idea to live with a person before deciding to marry them. Results from studies like these always disturb me, because they are a direct attack by the enemy, attempting to undermine God’s purposes for an entire generation. Today I am involved teaching a fellowship of Christian men and women from this generation who are now raising their own families and issues of purity are now important to them.

As I write this, the Christian world is caught up in the preparations for Christmas and focusing on Christ’s birth to a virgin. Whether in the Old Testament Hebrew or the New Testament Greek, the Bible defines a virgin as a person (either male or female) who has had no sexual intercourse. In today’s culture, staying sexually pure (in thought, word and deed) is looked upon as way outside the normal scope. Our world would have us believe that “everybody does it” and the study’s results (remember, not even four out of every ten young women asked describe themselves as virgins) supports that. We live in a society that believes casual sex is natural, healthy behavior. Over half the women questioned thought living with someone before you got married a good idea. When I read these things, I’m grieved by the spiritual ignorance exhibited. But then this has been the bane of Bible-thumping, Christians throughout time. Aren’t I over reacting, just a little bit? After all, this has been going on for a long time, and we’re no worse off as a people, right?

2 Corinthians 11:2

For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.


Paul expressed to the Corinthians his desire to see them presented as a wedding partner to Christ. As such, he wanted them to remain pure while waiting for the marriage day. To describe the passion of his feelings Paul uses a Greek term from which we get our word “zealous”. Paul had an intense fervor over them and their behavior. The responses of this study make me just as zealous for the purity and sanctification of the present generation! Studies, like the one above, remind me that I’m not doing enough.

In the passage above, Paul also uses the word chaste. This is an archaic word in today’s culture, but basically means inwardly pure, especially as it applies to conduct, how we act toward ourselves and others. It means untainted by sexual impurity, not just in action, but in desire and imagination as well. To be sure, sin has an external component, but purity and chastity have their inception internally. The Apostle John underscores this when he reminds us about the worldly enticements of the “lust or the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life.”

2 Peter 1:13-16

Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”


One of our duties to this world is as defenders of what is pure and holy. Combating worldly attitudes and influences over things like casual attitudes about sex and relationships is our war. We cannot let the guard down for one moment. Yet, Peter calls on us who have accepted the name of Christ to be holy in our fundamental character and behavior as Christians so that we are peculiar, in contrast to the lifestyles of the unsaved. Not in a priggish, sanctimonious way, but in genuine distinction. We are to reflect the wholesome and winsome nature of holiness that causes the world to be genuinely attracted to us and the Lord and Savior we serve. We are to be holy, not just practice holiness, because we are now redeemed by God, the holy, just and pure creator of the universe!



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