1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
This verse deals with two important or key words. They are Purity and Love. I would be dealing about purity first and then love later. I see this verse also as a challenge to Christians to live as obedient children of God. If we live purely and with fervent love, we show the people around us and the world the superiority of the Christian life.
I. The meaning of purity
A. The quality or condition of being pure.
B. Freedom from sin or guilt; innocence; chastity:
C. To purify is to remove all foreign elements.
D. Strong’s definition – to make clean, i.e. (figuratively) sanctify (ceremonially or morally): – purify (self).
E. Thayer Definition:
a. To make pure, purify, cleanse
In the forests of northern Europe and Asia lives little animal called the ermine, known for his snow-white fur in winter. He instinctively protects his white coat against anything that would soil it.
Fur hunters take advantage of this unusual trait of the ermine. They don’t set a snare to catch him, but instead they find his home, which is usually a cleft in a rock or a hollow in an old tree. They smear the entrance and interior with grime. Then the hunters set their dogs loose to find and chase the ermine. The frightened animal flees toward home but doesn’t enter because of the filth. Rather than soil his white coat, he is trapped by the dogs and captured while preserving his purity. For the ermine, purity is more precious than life. May we have the ermine attitude who would rather die that live in sin and impure life.
II. Purification in the Old Testament
A. Under the Mosaic Law, the holiness of Israel was first recognized as moral separation from sin. (Lev. 20:22-26), but it was expressed outwardly by separation from objects designated unclean.
B. Uncleanliness contracted through contact with such object required cleansing. Unclean utensils and clothing were washed in running water; but if a porous earthenware vessel become unclean it had to be destroyed (Lev. 15:12). Metals was sometimes purified by passing it through fire (Num. 31:32-33).
C. Israelites who had contacted uncleanness had to separate themselves from the congregation, the length of time depending on the nature of the uncleanness (Num. 5:2-3, Lev. 12; 15:11 – 13). They were required to wash themselves in water and for more serious forms of uncleanness, they were required to offer sacrifice (Lev. 12:6).
D. For persons unclean through leprosy (Lev. 14) or through touching a corpse (Num. 19) more elaborate cleansing by sprinkling with water mingled with blood or ashes was required in addition.
E. The unclean Israelite who would not purify himself was executed. Num. 19:19.
F. As revelation progressed, the concept of holiness deepened. Ps. 51:7 and Ezek. 36:25, both use the terms drawn from the purification ritual to describe the cleansing of the heart from sin.
III. Purification in the New Testament.
A. Though ritual purification is referred to in Lk. 2:22, Acts 21:24, our Lord abolished the uncleanness of certain foods (Mk. 7:18-19, Acts 10:15) and Paul affirmed that this abolition extended to very objects formerly designated unclean (Rom. 14:14, 20; Titus 1:15, 1 Tim. 4:4).
B. The NT writers confine purification to cleansing from sin through the blood of Christ. 1 Jn. 1:7, Heb. 1:3; 9:14, and interpret OT ritual as foreshadowing of this cleansing. Heb. 9:13 – 14, 23.
C. The term rendered “purified” is employed seven times in the New Testament, most of which speak of ceremonial cleansing (Jn. 11:55; Acts 21:24, 26; 24:18) and three which speak of cleansing oneself (James 4:8; 1 Jn. 3:3; and 1 Pet. 1:22).
D. Two major types of cleansing or purification are emphasized in the New Testament:
1. The purification or cleansing we received at salvation (Acts 15:9; 1 Pet. 1:2; 2
2. That on-going cleansing which should result from our salvation and our future hope (1 Jn. 3:3; 2 Cor. 7:1). Both cleansings are related to obedience to the Word of God (Jn. 15:2-3; Eph. 5:26; 1 Pet. 1:2, 22).
A famous pastor was approached by a physician, a member of his congregation, who was concerned about his health. Handling the pastor some theatre tickets he said. “Take these. You need the recreation of going to this play”. His pastor looked at them. Seeing they were tickets to play of the kind he could not conscientiously attend, he said kindly. “Thank you, but I cannot take them. I can’t go.” “Why not?” The physician asked.
“Doctor, it’s this way. You are a physician: a surgeon, in fact. When you operate, you scrub your hands meticulously until you are specially clean. You wouldn’t dare operate with dirty hands. I’m a servant of Christ. I deal with precious human souls. I wouldn’t dare to do my service with a dirty life”
IV. Back to our text
A. Christians who trust in Christ today have purified souls. God has purged our sins and purified our soul.
B. God has cleansed us positionally at the point of salvation, and from that cleansing, we have lives that are changed.
C. Our souls stand purified permanently because we have come to trust in the finished work of Christ for our salvation.
D. How does Christian become purified? By obeying the truth of the gospel. God wants absolute subjection to the truth of the gospel.
E. By obeying the Bible lasting effects will impact our daily lives.
Are you morally clean? Do you see yourself pure because of the finished work of Christ? Repent from your sins now and receive Christ as your personal Saviour