I would sooner be holy than happy if the two things could be divorced. Were it possible for a man always to sorrow and yet to be pure, I would choose the sorrow if I might win the purity, for to be free from the power of sin, to be made to love holiness, is true happiness. Charles Spurgeon
Purity is a complex topic. It is an important topic, though, one worth spending some time on because we are exhorted to purity in the Bible.
Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. 2 Corinthians 7:16c NIV
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 NIV
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12 NIV
Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers,older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. 1Timothy 5:1,2
I suppose in this day and age, where purity is a reference to “uncontaminated” street drugs, it is useful to ask ourselves the question, “What IS purity?”
The online Merriam Webster dictionary states that purity is 1. freedom from adulteration or contamination, 2. freedom from immorality, esp. of a sexual nature. Synonyms mentioned include chastity, cleanliness, cleanness, innocence, clarity. Wikipedia describes purity as the “absence of vice in human character”.
Thomas a Kempis, who is believed to be the author of The Imitation of Christ, describes purity as such:
Purity and simplicity are the two wings with which man soars above the earth and all temporary nature. Simplicity is in the intention, purity in the affection; simplicity turns to God; purity unites with and enjoys him.
How does God describe purity?
Psalm 15 (NIV) says:
1 Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?
2 The one whose walk is blameless,
who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from their heart;
3 whose tongue utters no slander,
who does no wrong to a neighbor,
and casts no slur on others;
4 who despises a vile person
but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
and does not change their mind;
5 who lends money to the poor without interest;
who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
will never be shaken.
And in Micah 6:8 (NKJV) He says,
He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?
There is more to purity, as you can see, than sexual purity, but as a single Christian sexual purity is particularly important so stay tuned! The next post in this series will address sexual purity. Watch the following video as a teaser.