Staying Pure in an Impure World

Staying Pure in an Impure World

Who would like to be wise? Well, we can start becoming wise today! No, we don’t have to go to college to get a doctorate degree. That is not the way to be wise. That way could actually cause us to become deceived, believing we are wise but lacking true wisdom. This is the way:

Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.

There is very little fear of the Lord today; hence, very little wisdom. We see people breaking God’s commandments and doing whatever is right in their own eyes. They don’t fear the Lord’s discipline—why, they don’t fear discipline of any kind, for many of them were never disciplined as a child. They don’t fear prison. It is only an inconvenience. Those who have been to prison are admired by their peers.

With no belief or fear of God, people are doing unwise, harmful things to themselves and others. The consequences of sin are what we witness all around us and in the daily news. We live in an impure world. Without a revival from God, our society will become increasingly wicked. Jesus said this would happen.

Matthew 24:12-13 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

We are in danger of our love growing cold because we live in this impure, wicked world where there is very little true love. However, Jesus also gave us hope, for He said, Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

If we want to see God and His Kingdom in this world and in Heaven, it is imperative that we stand firm and remain pure. But is that possible with all the evil around us? How can we stay pure in an impure world?

God’s Word tells us it’s possible to remain pure in the midst of an evil society. We see this illustrated in the life of Daniel, who lived in one of the most wicked, immoral societies in all of history.

Babylon was a ruling power in Daniel’s day. The Babylonians were notorious for their sensuality and uncleanness, and they had taken Israel captive. While in captivity, Israel got caught up in that society’s wickedness. Israelite men were seduced into Baal houses of prostitution, which included male prostitutes. Even priests, who once feared God were overwhelmed by sensuality, becoming an impure leadership over God’s people.

All around him, Daniel saw God’s people falling into pits of sin and degradation. Yet, in the midst of such depravity, Daniel determined to draw closer to the Lord, in spite of the king’s decrees that those who worshipped the Lord would be put to death.

As the days passed and wickedness increased, Daniel did not love his own life, but trusted the Lord. He drew closer to God and became even more wise and brokenhearted over his sin and Israel’s sin. Daniel confessed his sin and the sin of Israel to God, and acknowledge God’s justice for doing exactly what God had warned would happen if Israel would not fear God and follow God’s laws.

Daniel 9:20-22 While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the LORD my God for the holy hill of my God, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. He made me understand, speaking with me and saying, “O Daniel, I have now come out to give you insight and understanding.

God heard Daniel’s confession and sent the angel Gabriel to assure Daniel and give him understanding. Gabriel showed Daniel what the future held for Babylon and all the people who practiced wickedness. That vision increased Daniel’s fear of the Lord, which kept him pure and obedient to God while everyone else was eating, drinking, and being merry.

Proverbs 16:6 In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil.

Note the first part of this verse: mercy and truth work together to atone for our iniquity. Mercy and Truth are equally important. Many churches place such a heavy emphasis on mercy that they often discount the other vital element in the atonement process: truth.

What is this truth? It’s the fact that God is wrathful toward sin, as evidenced by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The problem is we don’t recognize this punishment as what we deserve. We see the mercy God showed us and we continue to sin because Jesus took our punishment. We forget the truth.

Hebrews 10:26-31 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

If we are to rid ourselves of deliberate sin, then we have to walk in the truth about God’s attitude toward sin. We need the fear of the Lord. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He will lead us—if we will give Him our life and follow Him instead of our fleshly desires. The fear of the Lord will keep us from turning away from following Jesus.

God’s mercy works to keep us from falling into despair, reminding us we have a loving heavenly Father who’s always ready to forgive our sins when we confess them and repent. At the same time, the truth of God’s holiness works to produce in us a godly fear. An overemphasis on either one of these elements, mercy or truth, leads to self-deception and heresy. Mercy without truth leads to licentiousness and eventually spiritual death. Likewise, truth without mercy leads to despair, giving up, and ultimately death.

2 Corinthians 7:1 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

The Bible makes clear that there is a fear of God every believer is to cultivate. That godly fear includes an awe and respect for God, yet it goes much further. Godly fear gives us enabling power to maintain purity in an impure world.

Jeremiah 32:39-40 I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.

Here is a wonderful covenant promise from God, assuring us He’ll provide us with a godly fear. The Holy Spirit imparts this fear into our hearts supernaturally. He also plants it in us through His Word. Yet it comes from more than just reading the Scriptures. We obtain a godly fear when we consciously believe His Word in the New Testament and decide we will obey. Although we are not under the law of the Old Covenant, the examples written in the Old Testament are there for our instruction. We can learn from the mistakes of others, who did not fear God.

1 Corinthians 10:6-12 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

Multitudes of people go to churches that promote self-esteem. They casually rationalize their thoughts as they toy with a wicked temptation. They don’t believe God will punish them. They think, “After all, we live in an era of grace with no condemnation toward sinners.”

But they’re putting Christ to the test, all the while they’re casting the fear of God and His convicting Word out of their minds. Anytime we go against truth that God’s Spirit has made clear to us, we put Christ to the test.

Beware! By continuing in deliberate sin, we treat Jesus’ great sacrifice with utter disregard. We willfully put Him to an open shame. We take His Name in vain, by calling ourselves Christians.

Memorize Hebrews 10:29, which we just read, “How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?” Memorize it and cultivate a fear of God which will prevent you from giving into temptation.

Remember what happened in the past: “Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.” They tested God with their sexual immorality and 23,000 of them died in a single day. We need a fear of God for our own protection. Without it, we are tempted to believe we can get away with sin.

We cannot avoid temptation. It will come. Temptation is not sin. Yielding to temptation is sin. God provides an escape from temptation for all His children.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

What is the way out? It is a growing love for God and a holy fear of God. We need to pursue God, His holiness, and a love and fear of God that will keep us pure.

Hebrews 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

Here is the truth, combined with mercy: without the holiness imparted by Christ by faith alone, none of us will see the Lord. This refers not just to Heaven but to our present life as well. Without holiness, we won’t see God’s presence in our daily walk, our family, our relationships, or our witness. Christ has made us holy, separated unto God. That is the truth and that is mercy.

We experience the reality of this holiness and its associated blessings as we honor Christ by leading a life devoted to obeying His every Word. The fear of the Lord, which the Holy Spirit imparts, will help us live a holy life if we believe and daily die to ourselves through repentance.

It won’t matter how many Christian conferences we attend, how many recorded sermons we listen to, how many Bible studies we’re involved in. If we refuse to believe, repent, and obey God, then none of our efforts will produce godly fruit. On the contrary, our sin will only grow more contagious, infecting everyone around us.

Of course, this issue goes beyond all lusts of the flesh, to the corruption of the spirit as well. In 1 Cor. 10:10, which we just read, it says, “nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.” Yet, we forget this verse and demonstrate that we lack the fear of God as we go about grumbling and complaining.

So, will you allow the Holy Spirit to deal with any lusts and sins you may be harboring? Will you repent and seek the escape that God has provided for you—the fear of the Lord? I urge you: Cultivate a love and a holy fear of the Lord in these last days. They will keep you humble and obedient, no matter how loudly the wickedness rages around you. And they will enable you to walk in God’s holiness, which holds the promise of His enduring presence.

Christ has promised to keep us from falling and to give us sin-resisting power—the Holy Spirit—if we will believe and obey what He has said. Pray for the Holy Spirit so that you may have a greater love for God and a godly fear. God will answer your prayer. He wants you to love and obey Him. We can’t break free from the death-grip of sin by willpower, by promises, or by any human effort.  We need the Holy Spirit and He wants to live in us. He will make us wise.

Ephesians 5:15-18 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit

Jesus will return at an hour we do not expect. Many have lost their fear of God and their love has grown cold. They believe there is plenty of time to do what they want and then ask for forgiveness. They have forgotten the truth. When Jesus returns, He is not coming to offer forgiveness of sin. He has already done that. He is coming to judge everyone according to what they have done during these days of grace. Those who belong to Him and are walking according to His Holy Spirit, do not have to fear His judgment. They will be welcomed into His Kingdom.

Hebrews 12:28-29 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.  For our God is a consuming fire.

A godly fear realizes God is a consuming fire—all powerful and wrathful towards sin. He spoke us into existence and He can destroy everything just by saying the word. At the same time, a godly fear knows God is love and is drawn close to Him by His love. This godly fear is not scared to approach God because He has made a way through the atonement of sin by Jesus Christ. This godly fear receives God’s mercy but does not forget to walk in the Truth. We become less scared of God the more we love and obey Him. This is understanding and wisdom.

1 John 4:16-19 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.

So now we have made the complete circle described in Proverbs 16:6 In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil.

Jesus Christ has provided our mercy and truth. He is the Truth. He has atoned for our iniquity. We have been given mercy. However, the fear of the Lord will cause us to depart from evil. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And love for God will give us a desire to obey Him. When we obey, we gain wisdom and understanding.

Does this make sense to you? We must know Jesus Christ as Savior before His teaching has any meaning to us. Jesus came not only to teach us and save us, but to make us what He teaches we should be. The Atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross means that Jesus can put into any person the disposition that ruled Him, namely the Holy Spirit. All the standards of God are based on that disposition, the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Is Jesus your Savior and have you been filled with His Spirit?

If not, then believe that Jesus Christ died for your sin on the cross and repent of living according to your own rules. Confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior and give your life to Him in baptism. You will be born again of the Holy Spirit, who will give you a godly fear of the Lord and power to resist the enemy and all his temptations. The Holy Spirit will also give you a love for Christ that desires not to bring shame upon Christ by calling ourselves Christians and continuing in sin.