The Quest for Purity


In the 1970’s, as a teenager,  I visited the large Catholic cathedral in Mexico City – Our Lady of Guadalupe. I saw people coming from miles around to visit the cathedral – on their knees. By the time they reached the church their knees were bloody and torn. That was the point.

Their effort to become pure was amazing.

In 55 A.D. in Galatia, Christians were observing special days (Galatians 4:10).

Their effort to become pure was amazing.

In the 1500’s, Martin Luther, the great Protestant Reformer, was a Catholic priest. His religious teachers told him, “Remember Martin … God will not listen unless you do good works. The more gifts you give to the church and to the poor, the more trips you make to Rome and Jerusalem, the more pleasures you give up, the better will be your chances for heaven. The best and safest way to do all this, and the one that is most God pleasing, is to give up everything and become a monk.”*

His effort to become pure was amazing.

In the year 2009, I see people reading their Bible, praying, not doing a certain sin, fasting, etc. to become pure.

Their effort to become pure is amazing.

Sad though. Efforts never work.

It is by grace that we are saved (Galatians 2:8-9). Why do we then live by effort after salvation? Grace is simply receiving a gift from Jesus as we walk with Him.

I admire the desire in people to be pure. I have that desire. It’s good and Godly. God says be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16).

But absolutely no efforts on your part will make you pure and holy.

Purity will never come from your efforts. Only from whom you walk with.

Stop your efforts. Start your walking. Walking with Jesus. Care less about purity. Care more about a person. Before you know it you will be pure because Jesus will rub off on you.

It’s time to stop the effort. It has never worked.

*Frederick Nohl, Luther (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1962), p. 26.

Categories: Miscellaneous

1 comment

  1. Good word! This is a real challenge to all the “purity seekers”. It is Christ alone who is pure! It is HIM who resides within us – who is pure. For us to try, and attempt activities to become pure, is for us to think that there is something pure about ourselves. This thought is no different than the pentecostals, who I grew up around, telling us to be holy, and giving the guidelines for what holiness was. If we walked in those activities, then we were holy (once again – as if there were things we could do to make ourselves holy).
    The most important steps would be to move closer towards HIM who IS holy & pure. He will make us holy as HE is holy, and pure as he is pure! My focus is HIM, He is pure!

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