Making a Habit of Purity

photoGalatians 5:19-26

Often when we talk about purity we are talking discussing sexuality. Being pure with your sexuality is important, but it is not the only aspect of purity.  Purity, in the eyes of God, is to not allow the stain of any sin be in your life. (cf. James 1:27, “Religion that is pure and undefiled is this: . . . to keep oneself unstained from the world.”) How can we become pure?  How can we remove the stains of sin? How can we remain pure?  These are some of the questions we will try to answer in this lesson.

Read what Paul tells his readers in Galatians 5:19-26. Did you notice the following: A) Those that practice the works or the flesh will not inherit the Kingdom of God. B) There are no laws against the Fruit of the Spirit. And C) Those who belong to Christ are to crucify the flesh with its passions and desires. Paul is telling us how to develop a habit of purity – we crucify the flesh with its passions and desires.

We must put the desires (lusts) that lead to the works of the flesh. This begins when we obey the Gospel. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 teaches that the Gospel Paul taught the Corinthians, the Gospel that saved them, is the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Christ.  Read Romans 6:1-12 and see how the Roman Christians crucified (put to death) their sinful past. A) They DIED to sin and self. B) They were BURIED with Christ in baptism. And C) They ROSE from that grave a new creation. When we obey the Gospel we are demonstrating that we are no longer going to walk according to our fleshly desires, but as we put those to death, we are starting fresh. We are walking according to the Spirit. We are walking with God and Christ. We are walking in the light (cf. 1 John 1:7-9).

As a child of God, you are no longer slaves of sin, but bond servants (slaves) of righteousness – that is servants of God (cf. Romans 6:17-18).  Take time to consider the words of Paul in these passages: “and you are Christ’s . . .” (1 Corinthians 3:23), “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Reflecting on these passages helps one remember that his life on earth is not about himself.

Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:26). The implication is that we must daily deny ourselves and daily take up our cross. Taking up a cross is not simply bearing a burden of having a mean older sibling. Bearing our cross is executing (crucifying) ourselves, our desires and passions, every day. Paul tells the Colossian Christians to, “Put to death  . . . what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:6). Our life as God’s children is about doing His will.

Years ago I heard a preacher tell this story:

“When I was young, I thought the Bible was a list of all the things you are not supposed to do. Christians don’t drink, they don’t smoke, they do not use marijuana, and they don’t dance. Don’t . . .  don’t . . . don’t . . .  don’t . . . DON’T! Then I began reading the Bible myself and learned there are a bunch of things that God wants us to do.  It was then I realized, if I do the do’s I don’t have time to do the don’ts!”

How? How do we do all this? Look at Colossians 3:2, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” To remain pure, we crucify the flesh, we consider ourselves dead to the world and the world dead to us and we pursue the things of God.

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