Holiness Is Staying Pure

We should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
 -Titus 2:12-13, emphasis added

The fear of the Lord prompts us to seek to be as pure as possible on this sin-cursed earth, and that leads to personal holiness. If you want to advance your walk with the Lord, this exhortation is critical: Having these promises [the Word of God], beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh (2 Corinthians 7:1).

The apostle Paul said that he was as susceptible to picking up the filth of the flesh as we are. He abhorred it, so he purposefully closed the door to it. Every time we leave the door open through anger, an unforgiving and bitter spirit, lust, or an insubordinate and rebellious attitude toward authorities, it is like letting wild animals come into our house. If a tiger had escaped from your local zoo and was prowling your neighborhood, would you go to bed that night and leave your door open?

Shut the door to temptations. Listen to how Peter encouraged those early saints of Roman Asia in his first letter: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).

The devil wants to discourage us and make us doubt God's power and promises. That is what Paul warned us about. We must not give the devil a foothold in our lives through sin (see Ephesians 4:25-32 . The instant we are aware of any wrong decision and filthiness of the flesh, we should seek Jesus Christ's cleansing. But there is also filthiness of the spirit, which is coming to God unprepared. Again look at what Paul said to cleanse: filthiness of the flesh and spirit (2 Corinthians 7:1, emphasis added).

God wants us to have cleanness of the flesh and of the spirit. If you were invited to an event honoring a dignitary, but it required formal dress, would you attend in old ragged clothes and dirty tennis shoes? If so, you would not be allowed in. Why? Dignitaries deserve respect; they demand respect. Therefore, you must come before God with the right attitude and make sure you are not holding on to sin. You must cleanse yourself from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit in order to be perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1).

This touching story reflects the lifestyle we are to cultivate: A teen once demonstrated this heart attitude when his friends suggested that they go to a certain restaurant for a good time. "I'd rather go home; my parents don't approve of that place." "Afraid your father will hurt you?" one of the girls asked sarcastically. "No," he replied, "I'm not afraid my father will hurt me, but I am afraid I might hurt him."

Young people: love your parents' desires so much that you don't want to go against them. A true child of God, who has experienced the love of God, has no desire to sin against that love. That is how you will know when you have reached adulthood. Be motivated by love. Obey God, not because you are afraid that He will punish you, but because you love Him so much that you don't want to ruin your relationship with Him-you don't want His Spirit to be grieved and quenched.

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