A pure heart is the most important quality for the Christian life. Without a pure heart our love for God will be lukewarm, our love for others will be shallow, and our faith will be weak and ineffective. Without a pure heart our prayers will not be answered. Without a pure heart the manifestation of God in our lives will fizzle out and the good works He has called us to will remain incomplete. The Christian life was meant to be lived out of a pure heart. Purity issues are the biggest problems in the church today and are causing its witness for Christ to be contaminated. These purity issues cause pollution in a Christian’s relationship with God and cause his heart to depart from God. Purity issues have subtly opened the door for idols to come into the heart of Christians and the church as the patterns, ideas and images of the world are mixed into the fiber of Christianity. .A pure heart is a rare find these days in the Christian church but it is the great desire God’s heart for every Christian believer.
James 4:8 (NLT): Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.
God commands purity from His children in the way they live. Every Christian believer needs to have a spiritual house cleaning of his heart and mind DAILY. We must come close to God and purify our hearts to be loyal to Him alone. Nothing else deserves our full devotion.
Eric Ludy: Our enemy Satan, must not be allowed to set up a command post or a communication center within our soul. He must not be allowed to influence our thinking by propaganda against the Christ-filled life. Anything that hinders us in building our life completely around Christ and following Him into battle must be ruthlessly removed. We must not allow anything into our life that feeds our weak point. A soldier does not dance through a minefield any more than we should play with a live hand grenade…Temptation is like nuclear radiation-it is not meant to be fought but is to be avoided at all costs.
Tozer: Christianity is so entangled with the world that millions never guess how radically they have missed the New Testament pattern. Compromise is everywhere. Pure Christianity, instead of being shaped by its environment, actually stands in sharp opposition to it.
Oswald Chambers: The purity that God demands is impossible unless I can be remade within, and that is exactly what Jesus has undertaken to do through His redemption.
Washer: The heart, my friend, is not some blood-pumping muscle or some figment of a poet’s imagination. In the Bible, heart refers to the very essence and core of your being. Don’t tell me Jesus has the very essence and core of your being and it doesn’t affect your whole body and life. It just doesn’t happen that way!
Puritan Thomas Brooks said:
A Christian’s whole life should be nothing but a visible representation of Christ. It is not only our liberty—but our duty and glory, to follow Christ inviolably in all His moral virtues. Other patterns are imperfect and defective—but Christ is a perfect pattern! Of all His children, they are the happiest, who come nearest to this perfect pattern.
I Peter 1:13-23Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. 22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
PURITY, FAITH AND LOVE: THE INSEPARABLE TRIO
I Timothy 1:5: Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
For the love of God to flow from our lives freely without obstruction, it must come out of a pure heart.
There are two main Greek words for “pure.” In I Timothy 1:5 the word “pure” is katharos and the Greek scholar Wuest writes that katharos means…”clean, pure, free from the adhesion of anything that soils, adulterates, corrupts, and in an ethical sense, ‘free from corrupt desire, sin, and guilt.’”
MacArthur: katharos has two shades of meaning. Some suggest that it also means unmixed or unalloyed or unadulterated or sifted or cleansed of chaff. In other words, to be pure means you have no added mixture of any foreign element. Thus, what our Lord was really saying here is, “I desire a heart that is unmixed in its devotion and motivation. Pure motives from a pure heart.”Either way, it has to do with attitudes, integrity, and singleness of heart as opposed to duplicity and double mindedness.
Pure (katharos) means literally physically clean or pure and has the idea of unsoiled (free from dirt), unalloyed, without blemish, spotless, free from impure admixture or free from adulteration. Figuratively katharos was used in a ritual sense of food that was declared undefiled and thus acceptable (cf Ro 14:20). In a moral or spiritual sense as used here by Jesus, katharos means to be free from corrupt desire or wrongdoing (sin and guilt) and thus pure or good in God’s eyes (cf John 13:10 where Jesus was speaking figuratively, teaching that one who has been entirely cleansed, regenerated, possessing a new heart, born again, does not again need a radical renewal, but only needs to be cleansed from sins into which he falls each day, cf 1Jn 1:9). Katharos is to be free from admixture of what is false thus conveys the ideas of genuine, blameless or innocent. As used in Mt 5:8, katharos describes a heart which is pure in motive and which exhibits single mindedness, undivided devotion and spiritual integrity.
I desire a heart that is unmixed in its devotion and motivation.
MacArthur writes that katharos
was often used of metals that had been refined until all impurities were removed, leaving only the pure metal. In that sense, purity means unmixed, unalloyed, unadulterated. Applied to the heart, the idea is that of pure motive-of single-mindedness, undivided devotion, spiritual integrity, and true righteousness. Double-mindedness has always been one of the great plagues of the church. We want to serve the Lord and follow the world at the same time. But that, says Jesus, is impossible (cf Mt 6:24; Jas 4:4;,Jas 4:8)… Christians have the right heart motive concerning God. Paul’s deepest spiritual desires were pure, although the sin dwelling in his flesh sometimes overrode those desires. Those who truly belong to God will be motivated to purity… The deepest desire of the redeemed is for holiness, even when sin halts the fulfillment of that desire… Purity of heart is more than sincerity. The scribes and Pharisees believed they could please God by superficial practices. They were meticulously careful about what they did outwardly but paid no attention to what they were inwardly…Even genuinely good deeds that do not come from a genuinely good heart are of no spiritual value.
Barclay: The Greek word for pure is katharos, and it has a variety of usages, all of which have something to add to the meaning of this beatitude for the Christian life.(i) Originally it simply meant clean, and could, for instance, be used of soiled clothes which have been washed clean.(ii) It is regularly used for corn which has been winnowed or sifted and cleansed of all chaff. In the same way it is used of an army which has been purged of all discontented, cowardly, unwilling and inefficient soldiers, and which is a force composed solely of first-class fighting men.(iii) It very commonly appears in company with another Greek adjective—akēratos. Akēratos can be used of milk or wine which is unadulterated with water, or of metal which has in it no tinge of alloy.So, then, the basic meaning of katharos is unmixed, unadulterated, unalloyed. Now all these words basically describe something which is pure from every taint and admixture of evil.It could be translated: Blessed is the man whose motives are always entirely unmixed, for that man shall see God.
I TIMOTHY 4:12:
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
We see again this inseparable trio of love, faith and purity and as believers we are to be an example of all three. Here the Greek word for “pure” is hagnos. (Hagnos) means freedom from defilements or impurities. Hagnos describes what is morally undefiled and when used ceremonially describes that which has been so cleansed that it is fit to be brought into the presence of God and used in His service. Although hagnos refers primarily to that which is inwardly pure, this purity also affects a person’s conduct. Hagnos means free from admixture of evil, and is once applied to God, John writing that everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure (hagnos) (1Jn 3:3). It is the refined purity of all the activities of the inner life.
When dirt intrudes, fellowship is destroyed. Corruption is the antagonist of cohesion.
Skip Moen: Pure –hagnos is related to the purity that is expected within the practice of the Way. James 3:17(a) But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. .James strikes a discordant note for our generation. He places moral purity at the head of the list with regard to wisdom from above. It is first (proton) in the characteristics of godly competence and mastery. James’ order isn’t accidental. Hs provides the building blocks of a truly Spirit-sensitive existence and the very first building block is exact alignment with God’s view of morality. In fact, James allows no deviation, no excuses, no exceptions. If you and I want to experience the full range of God’s sweet presence in living, then we must conform our lives to His moral code.He’s talking about our heart motivation. He’s talking about how much we long for God’s ways no matter what the cost. He’s looking for purity – that sense of absolute conformity with the character of God that comes from deep inside and that directs all of our actions so that we are transparently holy. First, holiness! Everything else follows from this. And without it, nothing else matters.. Hagnos might be a rare word in the New Testament, but it is not a rare concept. The entire plan of redemption drives to this one goal – holiness, purity, blamelessness.
Numbers 6:2 (God instructs Moses to) speak to the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them, whatsoever man or woman shall specially vow a vow to separate oneself with purity (Lxx = hagneia) to the Lord (Comment: Num. 6:21 also refers to a Nazarite vow – The Nazarite was a man or woman who was either chosen or consecrated for life or for a set period of time to complete a vow to God. The Nazirite devoted himself to self-imposed discipline in order to perform some special service. This is interesting parallel with Timothy who was to be an example to others of a chaste life. Are not all believers to some degree “modern day Nazarites” for as Paul writes to Titus — Jesus “gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” (Titus 2:14 )
We are to be examples in purity. Example (tupos from túpto = strike, smite with repeated strokes) literally refers to a visible mark or impression made by a stroke or blow from an instrument or object. What is left after the stroke or blow is called a print, a figure or an impression..Tupos properly means a “model” or “pattern” or “mold” into which clay or wax was pressed (or molds into which molten metal for castings was poured), that it might take the figure or exact shape of the mold. Tupos was also used to identify an example or model to which one should not be conformed. For example, the children of Israel behavior in the OT are a type which is a warning for believers today, because we will be conformed to them if we do not exercise caution. Therefore, they stand as stern warnings to us. “Now these things happened as examples (tupos) for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example (tupos), and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (1 Co 10:6,11)
Are our lives the model, the imprint, the pattern and the mark of purity? What is the tupos of your life? What impression are we making?
Titus 2:11-15: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
The grace of God is not a license to sin but is a teacher. What is the lesson? It is that we should deny ungodliness and worldly lusts in every form and live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world. The grace of God teaches us to live pure lives.
Would God give us the gift of HOLY spirit so we would live unholy and impure lives?
Matthew 3:11-12“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
The gift of holy spirit is described by the word “fire” as it burns up the chaff of impurity in our lives and helps to build in us a lifestyle free from the corruption in the world.
Lehman Strauss writes that…
When the believing sinner accepts the work of divine grace which sent Christ to Calvary for his redemption, he matriculates (enrolls as a member) in the school of grace. Grace becomes his teacher to train, educate, and instruct him. The end of the training course is the second appearing of Christ, and with that great event ever before him, he allows grace to correct and chasten him. The first lesson grace teaches us is the Christian must deny or denounce ungodliness. “Ungodliness” (Gr. asebeia) is just the opposite of “godliness” (Gr. eusebeia) (Titus 1:1). The first act of saving grace is to rid the believer of impiety or irreverence toward God. Ungodliness, which is irreverence toward God, is usually the root of all other sins. I am amazed at the irreligious contempt for God in our day. We can be certain that the person who has not denied ungodliness does not know the grace of God. He is not living with Christ’s return in view. Believers must deny “worldly lusts,” those desires having the character of this present age however refined they may appear. The school of grace teaches us to “love not the world, neither the things that are in the world” (1John 2:15). “Be not conformed to this world” (Ro 12:2), because the “friendship of the world is enmity with God” (Jas 4:4). The Christian who is looking for that “blessed hope,” which is the appearing of Jesus Christ, will not be lusting after the pleasures and treasures of the world. It was Zacharias who said that God redeemed us that we “might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life” (Luke 1:74, 75). The blessed hope is indeed a sanctifying hope.The Christian’s mind is set in proper balance who looks expectantly for Christ’s return. The upward look for the coming again of the Lord Jesus is an effective counteraction for an unbalanced mind.
The hope of the coming again of Jesus Christ to claim His church provides incentive and stimulus for right living. It is a sanctifying hope. Jesus Christ came the first time in order that He might get us ready for His second coming.
David Ravenhill: There are 1500 ministers A MONTH falling out of ministry and the primary reason is sexual uncleanness of some type. There are over 25 million websites devoted to pornography and these are spiritual landmines. Every time you log into the internet you’re within a mouse click of one of the most deadly devices the devil has ever concocted. Just one brief glance is enough to snag you into a life of bondage and heartache.. According to a survey by Promise Keepers, 65 percent of men surveyed said they struggled with some form of sexual addiction. Unlike any other generation we are being bombarded with sexual slime from every direction…The enemy has take this very beautiful, precious and holy area intended by God for the pleasure of a husband and wife and has twisted, distorted and violated it. Americans spend 57 billion a year on pornography-some 20 billion in child pornography alone…The largest consumers of pornography in America are women and not men…Every one of us has to face this unrelenting attack and we must know how to guard our lives ..The fear of the Lord is to hate evil…when you fear something, you avoid it. .If you hate something, there is no longer any temptation…The fear of God is the love for a greater Father, an understanding of who He is and what he represents, His nature, His character, His holiness and the knowledge that when we sin, we break the heart of God…God is looking for a holy people…”Be clean, you who bear the vessels of the Lord” (Isa.52:11)…God looks for clean vessels; He is looking for a clean Church, a Church without spot or wrinkle…Holiness is best designed as spiritual health…The Israelites were redeemed at Passover by the blood of the lamb. There was nothing they could do to gain the slightest merit. It was simply on the basis of the shed blood of the lamb…That’s the way you and I are saved, by grace and grace alone, but that does not mean that we sit back and do nothing. The moment Passover ended, another feast began: the feast of the Unleavened Bread. In this feast, every Israelite was responsible for removing any trace of leaven from their dwelling. They had to open every drawer, cupboard, canister, and so on, and if they found any trace of leaven, they had to remove it. That’s what we see in the New Testament as well. We are redeemed by grace, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, but we have to maintain obedience to the Word of God in our daily walk. Paul tell us how he lived, “I exercise myself daily,” “I buffet my body,” “to always have a conscience void to offence toward God, and toward man” (Acts 24:16 KJV)…”Purge yourself from these things: if you do this, you will be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use” (2 Tim, 2:21 KJV). I like to think of it as “spiritual maintenance.” God doesn’t come to read us His Word every day and lead us in prayer. We’ve got to do those things for ourselves. As we read the Word of God, it acts as a mirror, revealing to us those areas of our life that need to be cleansed. A mirror in the natural shows us our physical condition, but it cannot change us. We have to take charge of what the mirror reveals…Purity is so vitally important. The house of God is to be a “separated” house. “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord” (2 Cor. 6:17). In the Old Testament, the house of God, the Temple, was built on a threshing floor. A threshing floor is a place of separation…It was at the threshing floor that Ruth approached Boaz. Jesus Christ stands at the threshing floor to thoroughly cleanse it in Luke 4:17. God is calling His Church to be a separated people, called out from the world. The world is crucified to us; we are crucified to the world. It is absolutely imperative that we begin to see the message of holiness restored to the church…I recall an old man of God saying to me while I was still a young man to beware of “travelers.” What he meant was “travelers” are thoughts or temptations that come knocking at the door of our minds. How we respond to them determines whether we live with a pure and undefiled conscience before God or no.
Tozer: On our farm in Pennsylvania there were cherry trees which were attacked by little parasites of some sort. A parasite would get into a little branch, pierce the bark and exude a gum. Then the branch would get a knot on it and bend. All over the trees were those little bent places with gummy knots. After two or three years, those cherry trees would not bloom. If they did, the blooms usually dropped early and the cherries did not come to fruition. If the blooms did not drop early, the cherries would be flat and undeveloped or only red on one side. My father was not too interested in fruit. He was interested in cattle, horses and grain. If my father had known how he could have protected those trees before they got into that wretched condition and properly sprayed or treated them, he could have gotten rid of the worms and bugs and saved the trees and fruit… In order for us to be a vine like that, there must be basic purity. Each one must have a great purity of heart. I believe that there are no emotional experiences that do not rest upon great purity of heart. No one can impress me or interest me in any kind of spiritual manipulation if his or her heart is not pure–even if it is raising the dead. Sound righteousness in conduct must be at the root of all valid spiritual experience.
Could it be that too many of God’s true children, and especially the preachers, are sinning against God by guilty silence?…I for one am waiting to hear the loud voices of the prophets and reformers sounding once more over a sluggish and drowsy church. When the children of God accept the world’s values it is time some Christians spoke up. Babylon may have her gods, her own way of life and moral standards. It is when Israel begins to adopt them that the prophet of God becomes responsible to rise and cry out against them. .Any spirit that permits compromise with the world is a false spirit. Any religious movement that imitates the world in any of its manifestations is false to the cross of Christ and on the side of the devil.
Purity is not just an Old Testament concept or a truth in the gospel. EVERY church epistle continually exhorts and pleads with the Christian believer to put off the old ways of the flesh and sin and live a pure life walking in the spirit and the light of His Word.
Romans 13:11-14: And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh
Ephesians 5:1-20: Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Corinthians 6:19-20: Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
I Thessalonians 4:1-8 Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
God has not called us so we can live impure lives or be contaminated with impure thoughts, words and actions. We have been called unto holiness.
I Thessalonians 5:21:But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil.
Everything in our lives must be examined carefully. We must guard our hearts daily from impurity. We must abstain from every form of evil for it will contaminate our hearts if we do not and cause us to not walk in the way of God as we lose our rewards for all eternity. Purity is not optional. It is mandatory for the Christian life.
Washer: If there is no growth in holiness than God is not working in your life.
A believer in Christ is a new Creation and old things and ways of impurity are gone for a new life has begun. Our actions, words and conduct will begin to change. You will begin to see that some of the things you have been doing are not consistent with a changed life. They are not the normal outworking of a heart that has been made anew in Jesus Christ, and, therefore, these things begin to fade. People do not have to be forced to stop things; they begin to see that these things are inconsistent with a changed life. That, in turn, results in a pure heart. Your inner attitudes and thought life begin to change because you are no longer the same person you once were, and you do not think of yourself that way. You find yourself giving up freely and gladly those times when you used to wallow in lustful thoughts. It is no longer you. You do not want that anymore. Your heart is being purified so that your inner attitudes have changed.
I John 3:1-3: See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. 2 Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. 3 And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.
Matthew 5:8: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. John Ritenbaugh: Jesus clearly demonstrates that the Pharisees chose to do it the wrong way, leaving their hearts unchanged. Purity is closely associated with God’s election of His people, for by His grace He confers purity to them. Our life, unless spiritually maintained, is ever gravitating, ever slipping, toward impurity. Vigilance is the watchword regarding defilement. The Old Testament rituals teach that purity is achieved and maintained by effort and attention. Like dust and dirty dishes, uncleanness requires regular action and maintenance. Familiarity with the laws of uncleanness shows that defilement is readily communicable in a way that holiness is not. Uncleanness is so easily communicated that one can become unclean by unintentionally coming in contact with a corpse or a person with an infectious disease. However, the defilement of an unclean thing transfers easily to the clean, defiling it! “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes” (Isaiah 1:16). “O Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness, that you may be saved. How long shall your evil thoughts lodge within you?” (Jeremiah 4:14).One of Israel’s great tragedies was that so few perceived the spiritual intent beyond the external washings. To them, the external symbol was the reality, permitting them to conceive all kinds of evil in their hearts and do them, then perform a physical cleansing and think themselves free and clear of sin. Jesus confronts this on a number of occasions, specifically in Matthew 15 and Mark 7, but nowhere does He more directly condemn their failure in this matter than in Matthew 23:25-28: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisees, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
It is tempting for the careless to consider the purification process complete with the initial cleansing that comes through God’s grace and faith in Christ’s sacrifice. But the New Testament provides considerable evidence that God’s purification process is at that point far from finished—in fact, it has only begun! After receipt of God’s Spirit, human nature remains, and with it the seeds of continued defilement. Remember, the Bible shows that defilement comes easily. The convert’s human nature stands ready to do its evil work. Clearly, God is vitally concerned about the purity of heart, character, attitude, motive and service of those who serve Him. Because we are to serve Him every day, this requires specific and continuing daily attention. Besides Christ’s work as High Priest, the Bible also refers to the holy spirit, truth and the Word of God as sources or means of cleansing. Notice in the following scriptures how these resources support this ongoing process: Titus 3:5-6: “. . . not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, which He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Lord.” John 17:17: “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”
John 15:3: “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”
Ephesians 5:25-26: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.”All these elements are parts of God’s creative efforts working together to bring about transformation of the sons of God into His image. Many verses speak of “renewing” along with transformation. Renewing suggests a fresh, clean start on the path of life after a period of filth and defilement. Paul speaks of both in Romans 12:2: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” He mentions it again in a similar context in Ephesians 4:22-24: “. . . that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Again, in II Corinthians 4:16, he shows renewing, getting a fresh start, to be a daily responsibility of this way of life: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. God greatly desires purity in all we think, say and do. The heart is central to this because in the Bible the heart stands for the seat, source, reservoir and instigator of our thoughts, attitudes, desires, character and motivation. Jesus says in Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Obviously, the quality of the heart is the issue in this beatitude. Proverbs 4:23 reads, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Our Father directly addresses the book of Proverbs to His sons (Proverbs 1:7). Ezekiel explains this process: Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. (Ezekiel 36:25-27). This does not all take place in an instant. It is a process, and as we have all discovered from Scripture and own experience since baptism, human nature is still very much alive within us (Romans 7:13-25). Paul confirms this in Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you cannot do the things that you wish.” Human nature, the law of sin within us, is always seeking to pull us again into the defilement of sin, seeking to destroy our hope of sharing life with the holy God. That is why God counsels us in Proverbs 4:23 to keep—that is, guard, preserve, and maintain—our heart. It is very easy to become defiled by lapsing back to old habits. In stark reality, Romans 8:7 and Jeremiah 17:9 show why: “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” It is this deceitful, self-centered enmity that exerts constant influence, pulling us into the defilement of sin. Jesus preaches on this in Matthew 15:16-20: So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”
It is sin that defiles holiness. In terms of character, of being in the image of God, sin defiles, pollutes, contaminates or blurs the reflection of God in us. Purity of heart is a work in progress in which both God and man share responsibility. Notice how clearly James shows purifying is our responsibility: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8). How is this purifying done? I Peter 1:22 makes a summary statement: “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart.” Obedience to the truth through the Spirit purifies our character by inculcating right habits within it. After commanding us to clean ourselves up, Isaiah adds, “Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:16-17). Likewise, after admonishing us to guard our heart, our Father says: Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you. Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil. (Proverbs 4:24-27) Psalm 24:3-4 asks a searching question and gives a clear and important answer to all of us: “Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully.” These two brief verses broadly cover conduct, motivation, attitude and how a person prioritizes his life. To meet these qualifications requires “truth in the inward parts” (Psalm 51:6). A deceitful heart will never meet the standards because it does not operate from a foundation of godly integrity. God, with our cooperation through faith, is ultimately the Creator of a pure heart in us, but it is a protracted process achieved by imparting a holy nature by His Spirit. This unites us with a holy Christ, with whom we fellowship, washing us in the blood of the Lamb so that with His aid we can mortify the flesh and live toward God, giving Him first priority in everything. But the work of cleansing has begun, and God is faithful to finish what He starts (Philippians 1:6). By daily denying the self, sincerely confessing and wholehearted obedience, we work toward purity. However, it is not enough to be pure in words and outward conduct. Purity of desires, motives and intents should characterize the child of God. We need to examine ourselves, searching diligently whether we have freed ourselves from the dominion of hypocrisy. Are our affections set on things above? Has the fear of the Lord grown strong enough that we love what He loves and hate what He hates? Are we conscious of and do we deeply grieve over the filth we yet find within ourselves? Are we conscious of our foul thoughts, vile imaginations, evil desires? Do we mourn over our pride? Perhaps the heaviest burden of a pure heart is seeing the ocean of unclean things still in him, casting its filth into his life and fouling what he does. To “see” God is to be brought close to Him. Isaiah 59:2: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He will not hear.” Thus James 4:8 admonishes us, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” The pure in heart are those who with all their being seek to remain free of every form of the defilement of sin. The fruit of this is the blessing of spiritual discernment. With spiritual understanding, they have clear views of God’s character, will and attributes. A pure heart is synonymous with what Jesus calls a “single” (KJV) or “clear” (NKJV margin) eye in Matthew 6:22. When a person has this mind, the whole body is full of light. Where there is light, one can see clearly. To see someone’s face is to be so near as to be in his presence. In this case, the term indicated the highest of honors: to stand in the presence of the King of kings. Certainly David understood the greatness of this: “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness” (Psalm 17:15).As we have seen, God places great value on being clean, especially in terms of purity of heart. Also, we can easily become defiled, whereas remaining clean requires constant vigilance, a determined discipline and a clear vision of what lies before us to serve as a prod to keep us on track. Since it is sin that defiles, this beatitude demands from us the most exacting self-examination. Are our work and service done from selfless motives or from a desire for self-display? Is our church-going a sincere attempt to meet God or merely fulfilling a respectable habit? To examine our motives honestly can be a daunting and shaming but very necessary discipline. It is good for us to keep Paul’s admonishment found in II Corinthians 7:1 fresh in mind: “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit in my inward parts. Psalms 26:2 Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.
THE HEART AND REINS
Ludy: Heart and Reins: Hebrew (Libbah Kilyah – Heart and Kidneys)
Greek (Kardia koi Nephros – Heart and Kidneys) What are the Heart and Reins?
The Heart is the organ that circulates the blood, the Reins are the organ that purifies the blood – both are directly connected with the idea of Life in the Body. If the reins are removing impurity, then the heart is pure, commissioning the Life throughout the entire body. If the heart is circulating the Life, then the reins can eliminate the impure elements, thus creating a healthy being. The two organs work in tandem. What’s the deeper spiritual meaning to the Heart and Reins? The sacred part of man – God’s portion, His habitation, His temple within the fleshly body, His ruling center. The Heart and the Reins (aka – the Kidneys) are the governors of the Life (blood) of the Body, circulating it and purifying it for the health of the overall body. The Heart and the Reins are the innermost sanctum in which the moral trajectory of man is defined – if Light shines in this hidden center, the King is allowed to reign in majesty from the throne of man’s soul, and man abides in the grace and power of God to send forth a purified Life into every corner of the Body –then man will live, thrive, and bring glory to the Most High. If man refuses the searching, convicting, and purifying Light of Christ then the heart will remain under the control of the Flesh and the principle of Sin and thusly bear fruit in man’s life of pride, selfishness, and deceit. God searches hearts, He tries the kidneys, He tests and examines this inward chamber, for the purity of this inner palace is absolutely mandatory to a truly godly life.
Purity A definition: The heart and reins as they ought to be – perfect and without blemish, fortified against invasion, and impervious to the sneak attack of the Flesh. Purity is the inner evidence of the Love of Christ.
Heavenly Love consists of both Heart and it consists of Reins:
Uncompromising Love: Love that demands the purification of the beloved
The Contaminating Mixture includes hundreds of attitudes, emotions, thinking patterns and way of behavior that we must avoid if our heart is remain pure. Here is the short list of toxic contaminants that will corrupt our hearts and destroy purity: fear, unforgiveness, worry, lust, pride, arrogance, self-sufficiency, jealousy, anger, sexual immorality, envy, hatred, strife, covetousness, evil speaking, idolatry, stealing, and impatience,
Hebrews 12:10, 14, 16 (Phillips):For our fathers used to correct us according to their own ideas during the brief days of childhood. But God corrects us all our days for our own benefit, to teach us his holiness. Let it be your ambition to live at peace with all men and to achieve holiness “without which no man shall see the Lord”. Be careful too, that none of you falls into impurity or loses his reverence for the things of God and then, like Esau, is ready to sell his birthright to satisfy the momentary hunger of his body.
NKJV: Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.
Pursue (dioko from dio = pursue, prosecute, persecute, also pursue in good sense) means to follow or press hard after, pursue with earnestness and diligence in order to obtain, go after with the desire of obtaining.The present imperative is a command to continually press hard after, moving energetically toward the goals of something, in this case toward the goal of peace with all men. Continually pursue this goal, like the hounds chasing in pursuit of the fox. This is not a passive role that one just lets happen; it is an active concept that one must strive for.
THE GREAT COMMANDMENT OF PURITY: II Corinthians 6:14-18(NASB):Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.17 “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. “And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you.18 “And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty.
Oswald Chambers: We were buried with Him . . . that just as Christ was raised from the dead . . . even so we also should walk in newness of life —Romans 6:4:No one experiences complete sanctification without going through a the burial of the old life. There must be a “white funeral,” a death with only one resurrection-a resurrection into the life of Jesus Christ. Nothing can defeat a life like this. It has oneness with God for only one purpose— to be a witness for Him…Either Jesus Christ is the supreme authority on the human heart, or He is not worth paying any attention to. Am I prepared to trust the penetration of His Word into my heart, or would I prefer to trust my own “innocent ignorance”? If I will simply hand myself over to Him, I will never have to experience the terrible possibilities that lie within my heart. Purity is something far too deep for me to arrive at naturally. But when the Holy Spirit comes into me, He brings into the center of my personal life the very Spirit that was exhibited in the life of Jesus Christ, namely, the Holy Spirit, which is absolute unblemished purity.
We would be very, very wise as Christians to take heed to these words straight from the heart of God: 2 Timothy 2:19-22(NLT):But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and “All who belong to the Lord must turn away from evil.”20 In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. 21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work. 22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.
God wants us pure in heart for Him so we can love Him more, shine for Him brighter and witness for Him greater. Purity of heart enables us to see God, hear God and obey God. Only God can build a pure heart in us and it will take us to the most amazing Christian witness and experience the world has ever seen. His glory is revealed in all its majesty in a pure heart. Jesus had the purest heart ever and God wants us to have a heart just like His.