by Mrs. Kelly Pireh
Society places a low value on purity. This is evident in our culture’s dress, dating standards, and entertainment choices. But God places a high value on purity, which is why He provided for His children the gift of the Holy Spirit. Most Christians do not realize that purity is an evidence of genuine conversion…not just purity of the body–but of the mouth, motives, and mind.
James, the half-brother of Christ, writes: “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridles not his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:26-27). James points out that many people can “appear” to be religious, even converted, but he also warns that appearances can be deceiving. He lists three areas that indicate whether or not a person’s claim of conversion is genuine or fake.
The first area of purity that reveals the condition of the heart is the mouth. James says that if a person lacks the ability to control or bridle his speech, then his confession of faith is fraudulent. And sadly, this fraud is committed against yourself–for he writes that you have deceived your OWN heart. James later writes, “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8). It is critical that we realize that apart from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we have no power to control the purity of our speech. This is why controlled speech is the first evidence of genuine conversion because an unsaved person cannot tame or control the tongue. However, he encourages us about purity by stating, “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body” (James 3:2). He says that if the mouth can be controlled, then so can the body. People who struggle with physical purity most likely lost the battle with verbal purity a long time ago. But the perfect or converted man will have control over both areas because of the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit.
The second area of purity that indicates true conversion is purity of motives. James defines true religion by a displaying of sacrificial compassion. He writes that true believers will visit or befriend those who are weak, lonely, or destitute. These types of people often lack the ability to repay kindness, which is why this type of love is sacrificial. Love that comes with expectations is worldly love. Only true believers have the ability to love as God does…unconditionally and sacrificially. Love that is pure in motive seeks to minister to those in the most desperate need of compassion.
Finally, James reveals the last evidence of genuine conversion–purity of the mind. It is impossible to keep yourself unspotted from the world when you are open-minded to the world’s philosophies and practices. Paul supports James by explaining that the new man has the ability to think and act righteously and holy because his mind has been renewed (Ephesians 3:22-24). A new mind is guarded by the helmet of salvation and will have the discernment to recognize impurity and not only avoid it but despise it (Ephesians 6:11-18). God calls us to present our bodies a living sacrifice–holy and acceptable unto God (Romans 12:1). The call to purity is not just to provide our future spouse with a chaste partner. God calls us to purity for Himself. God declares, “Be ye holy, for I am holy” (I Peter 1:16). Purity is not the unattractive lifestyle that the devil has duped most of society into thinking. Purity is a two-way gift…it is a gift God gives us as a salvation assurance, and it is the gift we give back to Him in gratitude as we present our bodies a living sacrifice. May we embrace a lifestyle of purity – not just for ourselves, or even our future spouse, but for our God who exchanged our depravity for His purity with the shedding of His own blood.
Kelly, a teacher and youth worker, enjoys biking, hiking, and for a change of pace, puzzles and poetry, but most of all spending time with her husband, Ed. Dating Advice: Find a mentor couple who can show you how to have a relationship that glorifies God and edifies each other.