In the book of Exodus, before the ten commandments, before the book of the covenant, and shortly after the successful crossing of the Sea of Reeds (or Red Sea depending on your version, translation, and the age of the manuscript you’re looking at) Moses brings the Israelites to the foot of Mount Sinai (chapter 19). There the Lord speaks to Moses.
“Speak to the House of Jacob, tell the People of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to Egypt and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to me. If you will listen obediently to what I say and keep my covenant, out of all peoples you’ll be my special treasure. The whole Earth is mine to choose from, but you’re special: a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.’ (Exod 19:3-6 The Msg)
This is what Purity, Holiness, Righteousness is all about. There are plenty of other ways to have this discussion, ways we can approach the topic, but most of those ways, at least the ways that I’ve heard people use, follow the “do not” pattern. Now don’t get me wrong that’s perfectly biblical, I mean the Ten Commandments were written in the “do not” pattern, but this approach is the opposite. “Be a holy nation of priests.” It doesn’t say “Avoid Sin” or “flee from temptation.” Or anything like that. Here’s why,
“When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.” Luke 11:24-26 (NIV)
This is a man who cleansed himself of that which is bad but then failed to fill himself with that which is good. The subsequent vacuum made space for more, and greater evil that he then has to face and fight off and if he succeeds, then that only sets him up for a third, even greater evil. Whereas if he were to focus on that which is good, it wouldn’t be so much an issue. “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
If a person is not filled with what is good but simply devoid of that which is bad, then that person is forever pushing away and giving attention to those things that are bad. A simple spiritual truth is that if we focus on the good, we will see good, but if we focus on evil we will see evil. I would much rather people focus on being a Kingdom of Priests, rather than constantly beating back temptation.
It’s another aspect of Fighting For, and not against.
How about it? Any other thoughts on purity?