Purity & Holiness (Matt. 5:8; Phil. 4:8; 1 Tim. 1:5; 5:22; James 4:8) means being set apart for God's use, which is holiness in action. It will keep us from being contaminated by or interfering with others in growth and relationship in Christ. We must see our sins and weaknesses, and be humble before the Holiness of God. We may not be able to overcome all of our sins, but our desire is to go in the right direction.
Impurity, Adulteration, Decadence and Corruption are the opposites. Our human tendency is to persuade others to agree with our views. This leads to corruption, and all that is evil. God's purpose is to get us in line with His views, which are pure. Yet, so many Christians spend all of their time as pursuers of argumentation and not pursuers of holiness!
Holiness equals Pureness; this refers to the God who always does what is right, always, and continually, even if, and when we do not understand it. God's nature is holy, which means He is great and His actions are holy. This means He is good (James 1:17). Thus, holiness is what makes Him great and good. The face that God never does what is wrong helps us to trust and rely on Him. The deeper aspects of the faith are manifested when we start to surrender all to Him (Gal. 2:20-21)!
Because of His perfection and purity, He cannot tolerate any form of sin (Hab. 1:13)! He is absolutely just in His ability to judge, and is the ultimate 'Promise Keeper' (Gen. 18:25; Psalm 7:11; 96:13; Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:5-16; 7:12; Rev. 16:5-7; 19:1-4). This means we have to be perfect. Now how many of you have ever tried to be perfect for an hour, let alone for a lifetime? Yet, the great news is this also means He is the ultimate Pardoner of sin, to counteract that hopeless state we should be in from sin!
Holiness is also a call for us to heed and to respond. We are called to be holy! This means we are different from other people. We are not better; we are saved by His grace, set apart for His service and glory. Self-righteousness will quickly contaminate holiness in the minds of others who are not there yet. We are to do our best to understand and learn about Jesus, so we can be more like Him in our character and behaviors, and to reflect what He has given us, because of our gratitude and love. Thus we respond by living a life pleasing to Him.
This is why the work and cross of Christ is so essential for us. Without Jesus, we could never know God, because Jesus covers our sin and allows that separation to become an intimate relationship. Christ covered us so we are now clean and pure (atonement). Our responsibility is to live a righteous life, which will reflect what Christ has done for us!
We must surrender, and yield ourselves to Him for true freedom (Rom. 6:1‑14). Pursuing holiness means we live with the knowledge that our sin is covered, it must remain dead (Gal. 2:20; 3:20), and it is replaced with His fullness (Eph. 3:19). We can do this by growing in character and living righteously by Christ's example. Our concern and pursuit is to learn and grow in Him in maturity and faith through obedience and the practice of the Christian walk (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; Heb. 12:10-17; 1 John 1:5-2:1). We may not be able to be perfect as He is perfect, but we can strive to do our best by receiving His Spirit and Word and applying it in all aspects of our lives.
Holiness does not mean we set ourselves apart from others we do not like, or whom we consider sinful, because all of us are sinful. Remember, Jesus Himself had direct contact with the sinners of His day, and called the worst sinners to spread His Gospel--like Paul. Yet, we are not to yield to or undertake their sins and temptations. Being salt without losing our saltiness, and being light that is not under a bowl is being there in love, and caring (Duet. 30:1-10; Matt. 5-6; Eph. 4:17-5:14; 1 Pet. 1:13-22).
Is the Character of Purity working in you?
- How do I exhibit Purity in my daily life?
- What can I do to develop an attitude and willingness to pursue Purity?
- What blocks me from being Pure?
- How can I make Purity function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?
- How would you define Purity?
- Do you strive to keep yourselves pure as a reflection of who Christ is and what He did for you?
- How does corruption counteract Purity?
- What happens to our relationship with God, and with others, when we become pursuers of strife, rather than pursuers of holiness?
- When have you most been filled with Purity?
- In what situation did you fail to be Pure when you should have been?
- What issue is in your life that would improve with being more Pure?
- Think through the steps you need to take to put Purity into action in a specific instance. What is in your life that needs a 180-degree turn, from corruption to holiness? How can you reject the improper thoughts that come to mind? What do you need to do to place a shield from sin around you, to help you embrace holiness and not cave into temptations?
· Here are positive examples from Scripture (Gen. 39:6-18; Luke 1:26-37; John 8:34-47; 1 Corinthians 13)
· Here are negative examples from Scripture (Judges 16:1-6; 15-17; 2 Sam. 11:1-27; 13:1-14; Matthew 14:1-12)You must allow character to speak for you more than what your friends say to you. Friends are vocal, and character is silent!