"Just as all disciples are against sin, so all disciples are
in favour of purity. But all disciples know it is easier to denounce sin than to
renounce it. Most would confess that it is easier to approve purity in principle
than to perfect it in practice. To be convicted of impurity seems worse than
being convicted, say, of covetousness. It is not worse necessarily but it seems
worse. It appears more shocking. Why is this? Because in the minds of many
people impurity has a strong sexual connotation. This is understandable, because
sexual permissiveness does lead to a great deal of impurity... But there is
other carnal conduct apart from sexuality. There is greed and gluttony and
sloth. There is the cry of the mouth, there is the seeking of the eye, there is
the grasping hand. There is the allurement of temptation. There is envy,
jealousy and lust. By these things discipleship is tainted. Purity, therefore,
is a condition free from contamination and pollution. Positively, it is clean,
chaste, unsoiled. The absolute tone of these adjectives drives home the
realisation that it is easier said than done.
"As an example, think of this. We sometimes speak of having
pure motives. Who dares to say that his motives are always pure? No secret
selfishness; no hidden self-esteem; no veiled pride? So, although we may be
satisfied that we are free from sexual impurity, wisdom should warn us that
there are other kinds which have to be recognised and repudiated... The first
thing to notice is that the motive force in the process of cleansing is not
human strength but divine influence. 'Having therefore these promises.' The
power is in the promises and the claim that faith makes upon them. To strive for
the cleansing and to neglect the promises is to court failure. To accept the
promises and to neglect the personal cleansing is to keep the pollution. What
are the promises? 2Co 6 is the answer: 'I will dwell in them, and walk in them;
and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.' 'I will be a Father unto
you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters.' Because of the promise the
cleansing command is this: 'Touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you'
"It is evident that disciples under the influence of the
Father have a definite thing to do. Having put their faith in the promise they
must take resolute action towards cleansing from the unclean thing, whatever it
is. No half-measures; no secret reservations; no escape routes; no reserves for
rebuilding the old bridges in case we need to retreat. The call is for firm,
clear-cut action. Associations, habits, friendships, indulgences which are known
to lead to impurity must be renounced and denied. Cut the cord, burn every
bridge. Go back to the early days, before you got involved in tainted things. Go
back to the beginning when the vision was bright and separation entire"
Cp Rev 5:1: scroll written on inside and outside!
BUT ALSO BY THE COMFORT YOU HAD GIVEN HIM: Notice that
the coming of Titus, whilst comforting Paul, also provided Titus with comfort as
well. A powerful lesson when considering pastoral visits. The visitor as well as
the visited benefit.
MY LETTER: In which Paul counseled them not to keep
company with fornicators (1Co 5:9).
True sorrow leads to repentance (and forgiveness), but the
"world", which may appear sorrowful but has no intention of changing/renewal,
cannot be truly repentant (and consequently cannot be forgiven). Cp Esau in Heb
There is a radical distinction between natural regret and
God-given repentance. The flesh can feel remorse, acknowledge its evil deeds,
and be ashamed of itself. However, this sort of disgust with past actions can be
quickly shrugged off, and the individual can soon go back to his old wicked
ways. None of the marks of true repentance described in 2Co 7:11 are found in
his behavior. Out of a list of 11 men in the Bible who said, "I have sinned,"
poss only five actually repented. They were David (2Sa 12:13; 24:10; 1Ch 21:8;
Psa 41:4), Nehemiah (Neh 1:6), Job (Job 42:5,6), Micah (Mic 7:9), and the
prodigal son (Luk 15:18). The other (poss less sincere) instances? Pharaoh in
Exo 9:27; 10:16; Balaam in Num 22:34; Achan in Jos 7:20; Saul in 1Sa 15:24,30;
26:21; Shimei in 2Sa 19:20; Judas in Mat 27:4.