I am sitting here this morning in sweet reflection. The closing paragraph, last sentence, and final words to my 4th book were written last week. It is off to the editor and in the hands of the man writing the forward. The thought of it all brings great happiness.
The Epistles of John have been an incredible study for me personally. The theme of the books is love. It covers God’s love to us and our love to others. But what I did not expect was the amount of love shown by the Apostle to his readers. What makes his love so revealing is its under-girding of absolute truth. John writes these letters so that believers might “know that they know” with confidence and assurance that they are in the faith.
Living Out the Word: Love has been perhaps the deepest and most heart revealing ladies Bible study that I have written. John’s epistles gives a person a series of tests they can take to see if their faith is real. Have you ever questioned your salvation? Did you know that it is okay to do so? In fact, we are commanded in Scripture to do just this. “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves,” 2 Corinthians 13:5a.
One of the tests that Johns gives is purity. I John 3:3 says, “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” The “hope” this verse is referring to is the hope of Christ’s return (I John 3:2). We often use “hope” as a synonymic word for “wish”. But do not mistake it here in this verse. It does not mean wish, want, or desire. The word conveys a stronger meaning. The Greek word is elpis and it means having confidence in, earnest expectation, or anticipation. Hope makes a difference in the life of those who believe. The person who has the hope (confidence) of one day seeing Christ will purify himself. Notice also that there are no exceptions to the principle here. The verse says that “every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself.” A few weeks ago my husband started an expository study through 1st John. Yesterday’s afternoon study was on this verse.
As it turned out, my husband is also preaching verse by verse through the book of Matthew during our morning worship service. Yesterday’s sermon was on Matthew 5:8 taken from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” To be blessed is to be happy. To be pure in heart is to be holy. I was amazed at how the two sermons tied so perfectly together. Happy are those that are pure in heart (holy) and only those that have the confidence that Christ will return will purify themselves. So, just what is purity? My husband explained three types of purity for the believer. There is positional purity, practical purity, and perfect purity.
Positional Purity is how the believer stands before God. “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God,” Colossians 3:3. When God looks at us He sees the precious blood of His Son. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin,” 1 John 1:7. The believer is positionally pure.
Practical Purity is how we live out our faith. “Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself.”
- “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God,” 2 Corinthians 7:1.
- “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy,” 1 Peter 1:14-16.
- “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service,” Romans 12:1.
Perfect Purity is that day that all believers long for. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is,” 1 John 3:2. It has not happened yet, but we know that one day we will be like Christ. Spiritually we are pure but we still live in this sinful flesh. However, our bodies will one day be glorified (Romans 8:30) and we will be perfectly pure. What a day that will be!
It is the realization that we are positionally pure and the expectation of one day being perfectly pure that gives us the desire to live out our lives in practical purity. “Blessed are the pure in heart.” Happy are the holy, “for they shall see God.”