Purity is being free of sin or fault, innocent and uncontaminated; a state of heart characterised by complete devotion to God (with no divided loyalty, no mixture of motives or insincerity), moral and spiritual integrity (with cleanness of thoughts, motives and actions), understanding what comes out of a person’s inner being is what makes them unclean and those who continue in an ungodly lifestyle will be denied access to heaven (Mk 7:14-23; 1 Cor 5:9-13; Eph 5:1-5). 

“How can a person keep their lives clean from the moral pollution of the world? By living according to God’s Word which has been hidden within and manifests itself in outward responses” (Ps 119:9,11).

“You are clean through the Word that I have spoken to you” (Jn 15:3). The Bible cleanses our minds as we read it, think over what it says and most importantly put into practice its message. Jesus prayed that His followers would be sanctified, or made holy, by the truth which is the Word of God (Jn 17:17).

The Word of God is pure; it is 100% truth (Ps 12:6; Prov 30:5). This must be reflected in the accuracy of the doctrine we teach, a faithfulness to the Word of God (Rom 16:17; Tit 1:9, 2:1,7; Heb 13:9). There are severe penalties for those who add to or take away from the teachings of Christ or (specifically) of the book of Revelation (Mt 5:19; Rev 22:18,19). The early believers studied for themselves what they had been taught to ensure it lined up with the Scriptures (Act 17:11). Do I follow their example?

Jesus also said our inner thoughts are to be pure, free of pollution or defilement, especially in the area of sex – not just refraining from the outward physical action as was stipulated in the OT (Ex 20:14; Mt 5:27,28; Phil 4:8). We are

Purity starts within

instructed to take wrong lustful thoughts captive (2 Cor 10:5).  God desires truth and purity in the inner parts – from the very source of our being, so the outflow will be pure, “Guard your heart more than any treasure for it is the source of all life” (Prov 4:23).

The high standards required – of purity, integrity, virginity and innocence – can quickly be shattered in a careless unguarded moment. Don’t compromise your principles because of peer pressure so be in close relationship with other believers who will hold you accountable for Satan is always on the prowl to catch unsuspecting believers in times of vulnerability (1 Pet 5:8). Maintain the highest of standards, especially when relating to the opposite gender. Paul’s advice to Timothy, “Treat the younger women as sisters, the older ones as mothers” is sound counsel (1 Tim 5:1,2).

“Who can enter into God’s presence?  Those with clean hands and pure hearts”, indicating people of pure actions and attitudes – reflecting His nature (Ps 24:3,4).  The promise is those with this inner quality of character will see God, while those without holiness will not see God (Mt 5:8; Heb 12:14). 

“The Lord rewarded me for doing right and being pure”, said the Psalmist, because “He desires truth in the inner being” (Ps 18:20,21, 51:6). Can I say I have kept my heart pure (Prov 20:9)?

While it is only “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s son that cleanses from all sin” we are to actively take measures to effect that purifying – by keeping ourselves ‘unspotted by the world’, dealing with the temptations and staying out of the enemies’ traps (Job 31:1; 1 Tim 5:22; Jas 1:27, 4:8; 1 Jn 1:7,9, 3:3). Besides our motives being pure, we must guard

Be proactive to keep away from the evil that corrupts

our speech, being truthful and not blasphemous, and live with integrity in all our financial dealings (Ex 20:7; Prov 12:22; Mic 6:10,11). Each Christian’s body is the temple or dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, and so is to be kept pure and not abused in any way (1 Cor 6:13-20; Heb13:4). It is wise to have in place adequate boundaries or safeguards besides acting with integrity so your reputation is not destroyed and your character discredited either by actual or perceived misconduct.

Not being curious about evil, while having pure motives and controlling our speech, will express itself in a wholesome life which should distinguish believers (Rom 16:19; 2 Cor 6:4-6; Eph 5:3; Phil 2:15; 1 Tim 4:12). “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Mt 5:8). Those who have an inner purity will recognise God in every aspect of their lives.

The purifying process 

If something has been polluted or contaminated, to make it pure again, the impurity must be removed – cleansed, refined or purged out. The ‘cleansing blood’ will wash us whiter than the snow, when we confess and change our lifestyle to go God’s way (Ps 51:7; 1 Jn 1:9). The Bible uses a variety of other descriptive symbolic terms to describe the purifying process: refined with heat, separated out, or pruned (Isa 48:10; Zech 13:9; Mt 3:12; Jn 15:2). Metals are heated into liquid form and the scum or dross of the impurities removed. The aim is not to destroy the good but remove what defiles and pollutes, reducing its value and usefulness.

In the same way God refines our hearts (Ps 139:23,24; Mal 3:2,3). When we sin, we must own up to it (confess), ask for forgiveness and turn from it in repentance – which leads to a changed lifestyle. God seeks to purify His people from sin and while we can pray as David did, “Create in me a pure

Praise God the blood of Jesus cleanses – 1 John 1:9

heart” the challenge is also to accept our responsibility to purify ourselves from everything that contaminates (Ps 51:10; Isa 1:25; 2 Cor 7:1). How do we do this?  By actively obeying God’s directives as given in the Bible and the promptings of the Holy Spirit together with self-control (Gal 5:16,23; 1 Pet 1:13-16,22). In this way the church [the Bride of Christ] is made ready for the marriage feast in Heaven (Rev 19:7).

Symbols of purity

1/. In heaven, the overcomers, those who have kept themselves pure through the Blood of the Lamb, will be dressed in white, which speaks of purity (Rev 3:4,5, 7:13,14, 19:8).

2/. The image of the church as the Bride of Christ, who will be presented faultless to God at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Jud 1:24; Rev 19:9).

3/. The dove is often used as a symbol of the Holy Spirit because of its similar character qualities of gentleness, purity and innocence (Lk 3:22).

See also: boundaries, clean/unclean, defile, holy/holiness, immorality, innocent, input, motive/motivation, questionable practices, refine, repentance, self-discipline, soul ties, temptation, thinking/thoughts, uncleanness, virgin.