How We Live Pure in an Impure World
When I consider the miracles of Jesus, what I find astounding is His healing of the lepers. God made it abundantly clear in the Old Testament that being a leper was equated to being unclean. Perhaps being a leper was the worst nightmare one could experience. To even touch something a leper touched would make you unclean. The leper had to cry out, “Unclean, unclean.”
This was clearly a picture of our spiritual problem and it was through these things God was teaching His people about Himself and themselves. He was teaching about the idea of cleanness and uncleanness, purity and impurity. Israel was to be a clean and holy nation in distinction from the nations around them.
Fast forward now, to the New Testament. As Jesus is walking along, He meets a leper, reaches out His hand, and touches him. Jesus does not become unclean; instead, the leper is healed and is sent to the priest to affirm his cleansing. This was already anticipated in Leviticus 13; lepers could be healed and declared clean.
What a wonderful picture of the holy transforming power of Jesus! It is also an indication of His willingness to take upon Himself our uncleanness so that we might be declared clean. In light of this being cleansed through Christ, the New Testament gospels and epistles go on to describe a radical call to be pure and holy. We need not be told that we live in an impure world. We are surrounded by lies, murder, and sexual perversion. Because of the moral decline of our country, we hardly understand what the radical call to purity looks like. To live pure in this world has always been challenging because we have impure hearts by nature, we have the culture and world around us which is unclean, and we have the darkest of beings breathing in our ears. We sin, we spot our garments, we need cleansing every day, but this does not mean it is impossible.
This is precisely why I mention the leper. Like the leper, we are sinners, unclean, impure. We are liable to expose our leprosy to others; we suffer in our consciences and lives because of impurity. But we learn from the Scriptures that there is a mighty Savior, one who is able and willing to cleanse us from our impurity. To live pure we must be made pure we must be born again. It is impossible for an unbeliever to make any real progress in sanctification because outside of Christ he stands unclean before God. But, as with the leper, one touch of Jesus and we are clean. Through the power of Christ, we are made pure. In order to live pure, we must be united to Him through saving faith. He accomplishes this in a wonderful and mysterious way by His Word and Spirit. Just as the leper was cleansed by the power of Christ, so the sinner is spiritually cleansed by the touch of Christ today. Have you been cleansed?
Not only do we need to be cleansed initially, we need daily cleansing. The call of the gospel is for those who have been cleansed to remain unspotted from this world and be holy even as God is holy. These calls to purity are admonitions and reminders for the believer. We constantly need to be reminded to walk worthy of the calling wherewith we have been called. But again, the power, the wisdom, and what we need for this are not found in ourselves; they are only found in remaining united unto Jesus Christ. It is by prayer, by meditation upon His Word, by daily confession of sin, by living in the consciousness of what it means to be pure, by living and walking in the Spirit, by reflecting upon how our words and thoughts could be more pure and like Christ that we are transformed.
There is a fountain opened for cleansing. Anyone who comes to this fountain will be cleansed. We need to pause every day and reflect on the question of how purely we are living. We must grow in the Christian life, and growing means that we desire to live in purity and with a pure conscience. Has Jesus washed your feet today?