Summary: Some practical help on moving from just wanting to be forgiven of our sins to wanting to be freed from our sins.
WHY WOULD I WANT TO BE PURIFIED? Do I want to be forgiven of sin or freed from sin?
- Many Christians are content to merely be forgiven of their sins. Indeed, many presume that’s all there is to salvation.
- There’s meant to be much more than that, though. Jesus didn’t just die so that we could be forgiven of our sin – He died so we could be freed from our sin.
- Look at our verse for this morning. Paul calls the Corinthians to “purify” themselves “from everything that contaminates body and spirit.” This is part of what they should be pursuing as part of their walk with Christ.
- For many of us, we have to start with the obvious question: do we want to be purified? Do we want less sin in our lives? Do we want to be freed from our sin?
- For a lot of Christians, I think the answer is no. They’re content with managing their sin and living in the filth of their sin. They have no higher vision. So let’s start by trying to catch a vision of why we should want that.
- Main image: think of two pitchers of water.
- One is cool, clear, refreshing water.
- One is lukewarm, murky, stagnant water.
- Pour some from each pitcher.
- If you were going to pour some for someone you love, which pitcher would you want to pour from? Obviously the clear water.
- Let’s think for a moment about how we pour our lives into those around us. We pour from our hearts what we have. Think about your kids. What are you pouring into their lives? Are you pouring peace and encouragement and godly discipline into their lives? Or is there a good mix of anger and distraction in what you’re pouring into their lives?
- You can’t give them what you don’t have. And you don’t have it if you’ve not let God work in your life.
- This image resonates with me because what we do with our lives is not just about what happens within us, as though we were independent beings without connections in every direction. This is not just about “me and Jesus.” It’s also about what influence I have in the world around me.
- If you have not allowed God to purify your heart, you’re not going to have cool, clear, refreshing water to pour into people’s lives.
- We all know that there are those that we are close to and what they’ve meant to us is a decidedly mixed bag. We all know those that we are close to who have brought nothing but pain to us. Do you want to be that kind of person? Do you want to be someone who pours murky water into thirsty people’s cup?
- Or do you want to be pure?
- Now, that raises a key question: what do we mean by pure? What do we mean when we say we want God to purify us?
HOW DO WE PURSUE THIS?
1. We need to know it’s possible.
- This is a really obvious point, but you have to start there. Is it possible for me to become pure? Is it possible for me to overcome the sin in my life?
- For most, there is no clear vision of a life that overcomes sin.
- I often bemoan how shallow the American church has made the gospel. We make it a mere belief in Jesus without any life change expected or offered. We ask if people want to be forgiven of their sins without suggesting that there might be more.
- So let’s declare it clearly: it is possible for you to become spiritually pure!
- Not only is it possible – it is God’s will for your life.
- Not only is it possible – God has provided the spiritual resources for you to achieve that result.
2. We need to want it.
- Once we know it’s possible, we next need to decide if we want to see that happen in our lives.
- The answer for most: nah, not really.
- We’re content with containing the major damage from our sinfulness. We really don’t want to be free.
- We don’t really want to be free from porn – we just want to make sure our significant other doesn’t see our browser history.
- We don’t really want to be free from anger – we just want to make sure we don’t blow up in front of people we don’t know.
- We don’t really want to be free from envy – we just want to make sure we can make our maxed-out credit card payments.
- Do we really, deeply, passionately want to be make pure? To be made like Jesus? Not really.