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Purity is not popular. Think about it: when did you last hear that word used in a sentence? Unless you work as a jeweler, it probably has been quite a while.

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Good advice for a young man in the ministry. Jesus Christ exalts purity to the realm of the spirit, a type of purity that is far greater than the ritual purity of ceremonial cleansing seen in Jewish and other religions. This paper is aimed at showing you what Christian purity is and is not and how you can grow to have this purity. The New Testament Greek word for purity is katharos.

In the ancient world, ceremonial cleansing would have been by some ritual. In the New Testament, there is a deeper meaning: purity refers to the result of cleansing of the soul by God. In this context, purity is a characteristic of a believer in fellowship who has experienced the cleansing from all unrighteousness promised in 1 John to the one who confesses sin to God.

Reading this phrase, a cynical person may draw the wrong conclusion, namely that a totally pure person can touch anything or think about anything and remain pure as the driven snow.

What is purity?

But this thinking involves lifting this phrase out of the whole context of the Bible in order to make it meaningless and false. It is true that a pure minded man will not usually put evil constructions or interpretations on things.

But to say that something is pure because he judges it to be so, or because he cannot be defiled, is false. The context of Titus 1 makes it clear that the apostle Paul is referring to matters of Judaistic practice, ceremonial purifications, among other things, that have been misconstrued by false teachers. For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

For you love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets. For you are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them.

Purity is about devotion

Christ exalts purity to the realm of the spirit, which automatically does away with ceremonial purity. A pure mind cannot be contaminated by physical contact; and the purest minds will have no relish in seeking defilement.

The following passage in 1 Timothy talks about love out of a pure heart, the fruit of the Holy Spirit. This is not a ritual love, nor is it a love gained by striving for it.

Here good conscience means cleansed or in fellowship. Problems of impurity in life are attacked in the area of the mind. How often only the first part of the above verse is quoted, so that the believer never learns how to have victory over areas of weakness.

Abstaining from sexual relations is not the same thing as purity.

Lust is desire and desire is a mental attitude. So to flee lusts is to nip the sin problem in the bud, while it is still only in the mind.

Confess, isolate and forget the sin. Then, enjoy one more measure of victory. Salvation is not by ceremony, but by the sacrifice of Christ. Morality is not by ceremony, but by the purification of the soul through the word of God.

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