Talking with your kids about sexual purity doesn’t begin with talking to them about sexual purity.
We are looking at what we can learn from the way Paul teaches on sexual purity that we can apply to our own conversations with our children. We saw first, that we need to talk about it.
As we look at Ephesians, we see Paul talks about sexual purity in the context of talking to the church about the gospel and specifically about the transformation Christ has made in their lives.
In other words, He doesn’t just talk about sex and sexual purity.
Before we even get to Ephesians 5.
We want to at least note that what we are going to look at comes after Ephesians 1,2,3 and 4, which is pretty basic, I know you don’t have to go to seminary to figure that out, but it’s also important, to remember there’s more to teaching our children about sexual purity than teaching our children about sexual purity.
In fact, if you think the only thing involved teaching your children about sexual purity is the talk you are going to have with them at a certain age, then you are really missing it.
It’s kind of like at school, I suppose.
With any difficult subject. We don’t begin by teaching algebra or calculus. We first give children the information they need to understand those courses later. So, while you are not technically teaching them algebra in grade one, you know, if they don’t receive certain knowledge very early on, it is going to be difficult for them to understand what you are talking about later.
And really one of the most basic concepts our children need to understand in order to appreciate what the Bible teaches about sexual purity is what it actually means to be a Christian.
Like Paul does here with the Ephesians.
Because this discussion of sexual purity is not disconnected from his discussion of the Christian life. It’s an overflow of it. What’s he’s saying about sexual purity is based on what he’s already said so far.
It’s a specific outworking of the exhortation he made way back in chapter 4, verse 17.
“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ, assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
As you can see, the way Paul challenges these believers not to live as unbelievers is by reminding them that they are not unbelievers anymore.
Something substantial happened when they got saved.
It’s not just that they believed a new set of facts. They have been transformed. They have put off their old self and they have put on a new one, and therefore they must learn to live in a way that matches up with who they are.
They are to live differently, because they are different.
And that’s something honestly I want to begin teaching my children as soon as I can. It’s not enough for me to assume that they get that because as I look back on church history, I see that thousands and thousands of people have grown up in Christian homes, assuming they are Christians, without really ever understanding what it means to be a Christian, and obviously, if they are assuming they are a Christian without really understanding what it means to be a Christian, any specific talk I might have with them about sexual purity is going to be very difficult for them to understand.
If the basic idea of Christianity we are giving our children is just be a good person and go to church and don’t have sex until you get married they are not going to be able to live out what the Bible actually is teaching about sexual holiness. Either they’ll end up hating it and rebelling against it or they’ll pervert it into a means of trying to establish their own self-righteousness. Those are the two options for unconverted people when it comes to sexual purity.
And so, really practically, one of the places for us to start as parents is by thinking of those early years we have with our children as an opportunity to lay a foundation for having meaningful discussions later. Like for example, I am saying, the fact that genuine salvation is something really big. That, when God saves a person, He changes a person, and then calls on that person to live differently in light of the great change that He, God has accomplished in their life.
Because, that’s Paul’s basic argument.
I don’t know how to talk about sexual purity without my children understanding that, because what we talk about when we talk about sexual purity is going to just be so different than anything they are hearing anywhere else.
It just won’t make sense without those basic concepts.
It’s too different, obviously, from those who are just like whatever, do what you want, but also you know, what I am teaching my children is going to even be different from people who are just like be a good person and don’t have sex before you are married.
Which is why this groundwork is so essential.
I mean, as a parent, I think, any parent, I obviously want to help my child not be an idiot and do things that are going to harm them, but listen, as a Christian parent, my goal is a little bigger than just helping my child not be an idiot when it comes to sexual purity, I want to help them know Christ, and know what it means to be a Christian.
And how their life should be different as a result of that.
And so if I have a non-Christian child I might talk to them about purity, of course, just like I would tell them not to lie down in the middle of a freeway, but I am not content with leaving it at that, I want them ultimately to see the connection to the gospel, and if I have a Christian child, I definitely have to ground what I teach them in what God has done in saving them, because man if they don’t know that, really know that, they are not going to appreciate the motivation for fighting as hard as they have to for sexual purity.
It’s going to be like I am speaking another language.