I am fortunate to be a part of a men’s purity group, in which all of us are committed to working on (with the goal to achieve) our sexual purity. We meet once a week, and in that meeting we have a checkup time where we share with the group how we did during the week; that is, we share whether we stayed sexually pure or not (sexual purity for us means: no masturbation, no looking at pornography in any form, and no entertaining sexual thoughts or fantasies). If we are able to share that we were pure, naturally we feel pretty good about it. But if we have to confess that we have not been pure we usually feel ashamed.
Now this kind of a group, I’m thinking, may not seem to you to be a very pleasant experience; but for me, it has been very beneficial. I can testify that it keeps me on track, not only because I hate feeling shame in front of my brothers, but because I know they all care for me and want me to be pure. And we are all in the same boat and we all want purity—for ourselves and for each other. And when one falls we all are grieved over it.
I think the greatest benefit of a men’s purity group, such as the one I attend, is that it helps us to be prepared for Christ’s coming.
In I John 2:28 God tells us,
And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. NIV
(Note: The coming of Christ here is the coming for the church [or the rapture of the church]. And immediately after His coming there will be a judgment, not for our sins [for that was paid for at the cross] but as to what we have done with our lives; it is called in 2 Corinthians 5:10 the judgment seat of God or the bema seat, and it is explained in detail in 1 Corinthians 3:9-15.)
This verse sort of puts fear into you doesn’t it? We want to be able to say to Him, I have lived a pure life, I have lived a productive life, and I have not been living in sin. Of course, when He appears to us we really won’t have to say anything; He will know what we have done with our life, and He will either be proud of us or ashamed of us—according to what our lives have been like, according to whether we have chosen to trust Him and to walk in His Spirit of not.
And just as in the purity group I am in, where we all care for each other and want each other to walk in purity, Christ desires that for us too. And we know that. And that’s why it will be so hard to stand before Him if we have been living a sinful and unproductive life—because we will know that we have offended Him and let Him down.
And here is something else to consider: when we are judged by Christ, I believe we will also be standing before all the church. According to J. Dwight Pentecost in his book Things To Come, he says,
The word “appear” in 2 Corinthians 5:10 might better be rendered “to be made manifest,” so that the verse reads, “For it is necessary for all of us to be made manifest.” This suggests that the purpose of the bema is to make a public manifestation, demonstration of revelation of the essential character and motives of the individual.
This coming judgment of the saints I think will be very similar to what members of a purity group have to go through, but of course it will be much more intense and telling. I mean everyone will see what we have done in our lives. The following passage explains this judgment.
1 Corinthians 3:12-15 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. KJV