Un-enslaved to Corruption in a Corrupted World
and since the Lord God Almighty is Immutable, He is always that way, He will never change—it is we who MUST change.
Grace does not change God, it changes us. Grace has opened a way to God, a safe passage through the fire. Christ’s work on the Cross opens the way for us to approach and know, serve and love our Holy God.
How constantly we need His life-changing grace, to energize us in our struggle against the flesh within, and the sins that so easily beset us. Sin constantly surrounds us, like flood waters; and swirling around, seeks to seep into any crack or unprotected area of our life.
Salvation described by Jesus is, “knowing God”. Grace made us able to know the Unapproachable, Holy God of the Universe. But our God says that there is a choice about our purity we must make. He opened the way giving us His imputed purity. This is where God places upon us the actual purity of Christ in our new nature we have as believers (Rom. 6:4-5; 8:5-11; Col. 3:9-10; 2 Pet. 1:3). And when we sin Paul explains, it is not by the pure and new us, but by the sin in our old flesh (Rom. 7:17, 19-22, 25).
So we walk through life clothed in an imputed purity, also known as our positional purity which is also the purity we were given at the instant we trusted Christ as Savior. But this also means we now have an awesome new responsibility. That responsibility is what is called our personal, chosen or practical purity.
Participation in Purity is
Demanded by God
Paul was the Apostle of purity. In each city where Christ’s church was birthed, Paul called the believers to live a life of integrity, living out the high and holy calling of sanctified living. In all the carnality of Corinth Paul begs the saints to:
2 Corinthians 7:1 Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. NIV
Similarly, as Peter ministered the Word across the greatest cities of the Empire in Asia Minor, he pleads with believers to live the life that matches their beliefs:
1 Peter 1:14-16 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” NIV
All that is because, practical purity is a choice. God has done His part, but we must also do ours.
“This, of course, is the hard part, the part that does require our supreme effort. Only God possesses or can possess primal purity. Only God can bestow created purity, ultimate purity, positional purity, and actual purity. But practical purity, though it too comes from God, demands our participation in a way that the other kinds of purity do not.
We are not saved just for future heavenly purity but also for present earthly purity. At best it will be gold mixed with iron and clay, a white garment with some black threads. But God wants us now to be as pure as we can be. If purity does not characterize our living, we either do not belong to Christ, or we are disobedient to Him. We will have temptations, but God will always provide a way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13). We will fall into sin, but “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).”
Some of the loftiest promises and sternest warnings in God’s Word revolve around the purity of life that we choose to live while here on Earth. In Isaiah 33:17 God says that the more we pursue purity of heart and mind and action, the more clearly we will see our King in all His beauty.
Jesus commended the pure in heart as those who would see God in Matthew 5:8.
But in Hebrews we hear a stern warning: that only those who pursue purity and holiness as a lifestyle will even get to see God. In other words, only those who seek to live in purity or holiness are assured of salvation.
Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: NKJV
Hebrews 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. NIV
The Character of
So we have come to the third of six elements that characterize a godly young man’s life. He is ever seeking to MAINTAIN A PURE LIFE IN AN IMPURE WORLD.
- 6 “Likewise exhort theyoung men”:
- “to be sober-minded”, v. 7: First in any godly man’s life is a firm resolve to Live a Restrained Life in an Unrestrained World;
- “in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works”: Next, these men seek to Become Representations of Christ In A Christ-less World;
- “in doctrine showing integrity”: Then is the constant desire toUn-enslaved to Corruption in a Corrupted World;
The context of this third exhortation is that while the doctrine we teach is vital, there must be integrity. Our life must match what we say that we believe.
Paul has already challenged Titus to be an example of purity in doctrine in1:9 and 2:1. Now Paul turns to the hand that holds the Bible, the mouth that speaks the Word, and the life that is used in teaching others—that life must have consistency with that pure, orthodox, doctrine.
The word that the Holy Spirit guides Paul to use is Aphthoria (purity). This word is actually a negative form of a descriptive word for being morally corrupt and vile—thus it means “not morally depraved”. In Paul’s day this word (without the “not” added) was often used of morally depraved people such as rapists, seducers, and abortionists.
Writing also about the vital need for integrity in our personal lives, Peter uses a related form of this word when he says that false teachers promise “freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved” (2 Pet. 2:19, emphasis added). Paul is using this term to admonish Titus to live a life of moral purity that lines up in secret with the pure doctrine that he proclaimed in public.
What are the Benefits of
A Life of Purity?
If we were to distill down the descriptions that God’s Word has for those who walk as Christ’s disciples, in the power of the Spirit, with this grace-energized purity, this is what the New Testament says we have:
- A Great hunger and desire for God Himself, His Word, His Way.
- We walk in the Spirit; and grow better and better at knowing the difference between walking in the flesh and walking in the Spirit.
- We have an increasing ability to apply God’s Word to life.
- We grow in the obvious “works of faith” like serving others, giving, etc.
- Purity brings stability, we are firmly grounded (not swayed or deceived by false doctrines).
- Purity is the soil in which continual spiritual growth and maturity take place.
- Pure saints exhibit a great desire for fellowship with other believers.
- Purity of life leads to evidencing the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
- A pure believer, un-enslaved to sin has little to no desire for worldly possessions; greater and greater unselfish motives; and a growing spirit of cooperation.
- The liberated from bondage believers are quick to repent and to forgive others.
- Pure believers have a sincere compassion for the lost.
- Believers un-entangled with the lusts of the flesh are usually actively assisting in the spiritual development of others.
- Purity and holiness always lead to a continuous sense of God’s Presence, and a deepening knowledge of His character and will.
- A pure believer will always have a life characterized with peace; and meekness and humility will characterize their attitude.
- Almost always a believer walking in holiness will have their home life in order; and will be personally seeking God’s purpose for their life.
- Purity leads to a life marked by discipline (physical, mental, spiritual); and a growing track record of being an over-comer of sin.
- There is an immensely powerful prayer life that flows from a pure heart; and a dynamic life-style of worship.
- Finally, a believer walking in purity and holiness, with integrity has a life-style of grace and mercy toward others and self.
Because the Tsunami of sin sweeps across our lives each day, this man always seeks to…
Choices that Lead to a
Life of Purity
The only way to recover from an eroded mind, a mind that has gotten neutralized, where evil seeps in a bit more each day, is to purse personal sanctification:
- Grace-energized purity means that young men will choose to: Saturate themselves With the Word (Joshua 1:8). After you read and ponder, work on memorizing key Scriptures that can help you have greater victory over sin, and then regularly meditate upon those verses. Meditate day and night!
Joshua 1:8 “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. NKJV
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. NKJV
Fifteen minutes reading per day makes it through the Bible once a year, and a half-hour equals two times. On a CD or tape, listening to the complete Bible in a year requires the same amount of time. Isn’t God worth it?
Remember: God wants to invade every part of your heart, mind, and life. But He can only do so if you will say, “By Your grace, Lord, I purpose to learn Your Book, to prepare my heart to live Your Book, and to lead others in living and learning Your Word.” That is exactly what God has put you on earth to do!
- Grace-energized purity means that young men will choose to: Consistently Hate Evil (Rom. 12:9). As pilgrims in this world, and with the Tsunami of sin crashing over and around us each day, Paul prescribed one constant attitude—hate evil. Abhor, turn away from, and hate evil!
Evil, because of our ever present flesh, is always more interesting. Understanding the allure of evil explains why we watch so much of it, even when it is so clearly destructive. The sheer volume of evil our nation is exposed to on a daily basis is one of the most disturbing effects of the proliferation of media. The only remedy I know is two thousand years old:
Romans 12:9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor [hate so go away from] what is evil. Cling [go toward so stuck to, glued to] to what is good. NKJV
The heart of the message Paul taught them is in Ephesians 4:22-24. Christ’s Lordship must fill our lives displacing any places in our lives to the Devil. Three clear choices we must make!
Ephesians 4:22-24 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
To apply all this, remember when Paul taught the Ephesian believers about anything tied to Satan in Acts 19:19-20, they collected and burned all of the objects associated with demonic and satanic contact. Right now, if you have music, videos, games, books, posters, or other objects that are tied in any way to the occult, destroy them today.
- Grace-energized purity means that young men will choose to: Look for God When Tempted. This is a daily, purposeful, and planned focus on pleasing the Lord in all things. Start your day crying out for Christ’s help. Look for Him!
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. NKJV
This verse has a huge truth we need to stop and really lay hold of–God is there all the time. The longer we meditate on this verse, the more we see God’s shadow. It is He who is standing over us always ready to delivers us if we but look to Him! He is not distant; He is never closer than when we are tempted!
God is there all the time. Have you allowed that truth to sink into your soul and become a part of your operating system? God has told us that He is faithful. Whenever we think we are alone, we are not alone. We never face the adversary, the prowling lion called the Devil—alone.
God has already measured and limited the attack upon us. He has already provided an escape route if we will only look for it and take it. If we were alone and facing temptation, we would be hopelessly defeated.
But God knows that already and so He is there, all the time, and every time. And He has the best way of escape marked for us. What a Mighty God we serve!
Pause and do something before you lose that truth.
- Tell Him thank you for being there with you right now. Now, with your heart opened before Him, tell Him that the next time you are tempted (you may even want to whisper in your heart to Him the temptation you most fear and often get defeated by)—that you will look for Him.
Look for God! He is always faithful!
- Grace-energized purity means that young men will choose to: Starve their Flesh (Romans 13:14).
Romans 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. NKJV
Cut all supply routes. If there are websites, TV shows, magazines, videos, and so on, that are less than Christlike, destroy them. If there are avenues that defile, such as cable TV/HBO and ungodly internet access, get rid of them. Do whatever it takes to starve the evil desires of your flesh, and those of your family. Put on Christ by starving your flesh!
Þ Have a no-television week or month.
Þ Read God’s Word before email or online news each morning.
Þ Pray in the car or meditate on a verse instead of listening to the radio.
Þ Cancel the newspaper or magazine.
Þ Create an intentional solitude.
- Grace-energized purity means that young men will choose to: Walk in the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-19). Let the Word of God fill your life, and then pass it on to your family! Walk daily!
Please turn with me to Ephesians 5:18-19:
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, NKJV
Those biblical commands are meant for each of us, as Christians, to obey. They are not something to simply pray about, and then get around to doing one day. No, they are for us to actively grab hold of and obey—right now!
So God Almighty commands:
All of Us
To Let His Spirit
Continuously Be Filling You!
- Grace-energized purity means that young men will choose to: Stay in Constant Touch with God (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Prayer is the best, greatest, and most powerful way to touch your family’s lives! Pray without ceasing!
Pray for wisdom, and seek God’s direction for how to promote your growth in Christ’s mind. Do not let another day go by without praying for your mind. Plan for purity; expose your mind only to the right things. Read the Bible to your family, and discuss it, so they also learn how to draw practical life applications from God’s Word. It is by your walk with the Lord that you demonstrate that you love the Holy Scriptures yourself.
Pray for grace to stop the indiscriminate and endless watching of TV and videos, and starting systematic, prayerful reading and studying of God’s Word. We all have the time to do what is right—we simply have to make it a priority. Today, let us each choose to cultivate the mind God has willed us to have!
- Grace-energized purity means that young men will choose to: Make Little Choices of Self-Restraint (I Timothy 4:7). This is a daily pattern of saying no to specific temptations, and saying yes to the Holy Spirit as He prompts you.
Grace teaches this serious spiritual life.
- God says that His grace-energizes us into being serious about spiritual things;
- His grace teaches us how to live a disciplined life: which means self-controlled and not addicted to anything;
- Believers energized by God’s grace are in control of their choices, seeking out God’s priorities;
- God wants us serious about life, temperate, and avoiding excesses;
- God’s grace gives us a clarity of thought that leads to an orderly life;
- His grace leads us to thinking through the Philippians 4:8grid.
The Pathway to a
Life of Purity
God has given to us all we need. The pathway to a life of purity for every young man and every young woman, older man, and older woman is paved with grace. The means of grace that God will use every day in our lives are laid out clearly in His Word. In the Scriptures we find:
- Grace Energizes Purity: We begin the pathway of purity with the realization that we are unable to live a single holy moment without the Lord’s power-filled grace. “Who can say, ‘I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin’?” (Prov. 20:9), the obvious answer to which is “No one.” The Ethiopian cannot change his skin or the leopard its spots (Jer. 13:23). Purity begins with a recognition of our weakness; and then weakness then reaches out for the strength of God.
- The Word Prompts Purity: To continue on the pathway of practical purity, we must stay in God’s Word. God’s will can’t be followed apart from His Word. Jesus said, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you” (John 15:3).
- The Spirit Leads Purity: The power to maintain a life of practical purity only comes by being controlled by the Spirit, walking in step with God through His Spirit. Galatians 5:16 says it clearly: “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”
- Prayer Maintains Purity: Jesus was a model of the necessity of prayer. To walk the pathway of life-long purity, we must pray. Prayer keeps us constantly aware of God’s Presence. “With all prayer and petition” we are to “pray at all times in the Spirit” (Eph. 6:18; cf. Luke 18:1; 1 Thess. 5:17). With David we cry, “Create in me a clean heart, O God” (Ps. 51:10).
- God seeing Purity:
“The great blessing of those who are pure in heart is that they shall see God. The Greek is in the future indicative tense and the middle voice, and a more literal translation is, “They shall be continuously seeing God for themselves.” It is only they (the emphatic autos), the pure in heart, who shall see God. Intimate knowledge of and fellowship with God is reserved for the pure.
When our hearts are purified at salvation we begin to live in the presence of God. Purity of heart cleanses the eyes of the soul so that God becomes visible. One sign of an impure heart is ignorance, because sin obscures the truth (John 3:19-20). Evil and ignorance come in a package. Other signs of an impure heart are self-centeredness (Rev. 3:17), pleasure in sin (2 Tim. 3:4), unbelief (Heb. 3:12), and hatred of purity (Mic. 3:2). Those who belong to God exchange all of those things for integrity and purity”.
God calls every young man, and also every other believer to a life of purity.
Our Consuming Fire God has given us the pathway of grace to follow. His grace energizes us to live the life, walk the walk, and have that powerful integrity of life that matches what we believe.
 MacArthur, John F., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, (Chicago: Moody Press) 1983. [160 words]