Premeditated Purity

Sound Words graphicI’m no law guru, but we all know that the punishment for murder is much more severe when the act is premeditated, or decided on beforehand. The law makes a distinction between a person who, caught up in the passion of the moment, commits a crime and one who plans every detail months in advance (cf. Num 35:10–24).

I believe that the Bible commands that our purity be premeditated. We all know it is important to be pure, and we never know when we might be caught in that one situation, that one moment of temptation where we might suffer a crushing defeat in this regard. However, even before that moment arrives, Scripture commands us to plan carefully and deliberately to be pure. Consider the words of 1 Peter 1:13–16:

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 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.”

Notice the first command: “gird up the loins of your mind.” We are familiar with idea of the Ancient Near Easterner girding up the loins. He would tuck the long folds of his robe up under his belt in order to be ready for action. Here we are told to prepare our minds for action and get serious about living as obedient children of God. Life is short and Jesus Christ is coming back soon! Be prepared to be pure.

What is so important about purity? Notice the second part of Peter’s command: the mark of a believer is purity. Holiness should characterize every area of our lives. An obedient Christian life is a pure life. We are not to live like unsaved people do (and like we once did!) in lustful impurity. Rather, we are to live in holiness, just as the God who saved us is completely pure from sin.

Peter commands us to prepare our minds now so that we live holy lives. Focus on the idea of preparing to be pure. Don’t wait until you are in the middle of temptation to decide that you will be pure and holy. Decide now! Avoid places where temptation is likely. Stay away from people who you know are not interested in pleasing God or being pure. Practice premeditated purity.

April/May 2007

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