2 Corinthians 7:1
James 1:27
“Let us cleanse ourselves
from all filthiness …”
Paul brought a fitting conclusion to his grand treatise on separation. First, he directed the mind of the readers to the great spiritual blessings in store for those who are committed to separation. Those who obey God will experience sweet fellowship with Christ. They will also experience the care and guidance of God the Father which is reserved for His children. Surely the theological basis of separation and the blessing attached to the command ought to grip the heart of God’s children to pursue after purity!
Paul then proceeded to exhort the Corinthians to “cleanse” themselves “from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.” This cleansing brings in mind the ceremonial cleansing in the Old Testament from ritual impurity. Whenever God’s people were ceremonially unclean, they had to confess their sins and purify themselves before entering into His presence. The terms “flesh and spirit” would indicate how ceremonial purity alone would not suffice for the Old Testament worshippers – they must also be pure in heart and conduct. Thus, they must come before the Lord with a humble spirit, confessing their sins. It is only in purity that they can meet with the Lord. Similarly, the Christian must also be of clean hands and pure heart if he desires to approach God.
Paul then concluded that every Christian should be “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” “For if the fear of God influences us, we will not be so much disposed to indulge ourselves, nor will there be a bursting forth of that audacity of wantonness, which showed itself among the Corinthians. For how does it happen, that many delight themselves so much in outward idolatry, and haughtily defend so gross a vice, unless it be, that they think that they mock God with impunity? If the fear of God had dominion over them, they would immediately, on the first moment, leave off all cavils, without requiring to be constrained to it by any disputations” (Calvin). Let us then be committed to a life of holiness, for the Lord saith, “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Pet 1:16).
THOUGHT: How pure is my life?
PRAYER: Father, help me to be committed to a life of purity.