The Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

1 John 3:2-3

Purifying Ourselves as He Is Pure

Our Lord said in his most famous sermon, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).  To be “pure” means to be made of one thing without any foreign element intermixing; for example, what we mean when we say, “pure gold.”  So to be pure in heart would mean to have a sincere and unadulterated desire for God and for Him only.  The purpose of any other desire is merely to serve one’s desire for Him.  It means to release oneself from anything which might hinder that desire, that love, that longing to be with and behold God.  And the reward for such purity of heart is exactly what the pure in heart desire most: to “see God,” to behold Him in all His glory and adore Him forever.  What more is there?

Perfect purity of heart eludes us here, but John provides us with a wonderful promise.  The Apostle reminds us that “we are God’s children now.”  It is “now” that is the operative word.  We are already God’s children.  And in this earthly house we must strive for purity by sloughing off sin and striving for godliness as we strain forward to that upward call (Philippians 3:12-16).  But we have even more incentive to lean forward because “we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” 

It is axiomatic in the Scriptures that no one can see God and live, God’s glory being so great (Exodus 33:20).  Therefore, for one to see God and live, one must become like God.  But what does that mean?  We shall never be like God in his essence and divine attributes; but, we can and will be like Him as that concerns purity.  In other words, one day we shall be completely sinless, without even the taint of it.  And as a result of such purified souls, we shall inhabit glorified and perfectly whole bodies unaffected by sickness and disease.  Our minds will be able to fix their attention on God and meditate upon and glorify Him forever in perfect joy and peace, nothing lacking.  We shall be pure as he is pure—and we shall behold Him.

And so what effect does such an unimaginable promise have on us?  “And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure.”  This takes us back to 2:28, for no one who names the name of Christ wants to be ashamed upon his return.  We want to be found not only in him but living for him, putting to death that which is in us that is not of him and cultivating the fruits of the Spirit as we walk with him.  This is how we purify ourselves as the Spirit works within us as we apply ourselves to Scripture, prayer, and cultivating virtue.  Blessed are the pure in heart.  Indeed.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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