Pursuing Purity

“If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.”  Matthew 18:8-9 

A friend of mine recently preached a series of sermons on the Beatitudes (declarations of blessedness) given by Jesus and recorded in Matthew chapter 5. He posed the following question when he got to verse eight, which says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” He asked: “How can you become pure?”

He then asked, “Can you become pure by adding good?” Will more works of service, more giving, more Bible reading, more praying, more kindness, more love, etc. make you pure. It sounds reasonable, but then he made an incredibly important point: you can’t just add good to become pure; you also have to get rid of the bad that’s already there.

He illustrated this point with a partially filled glass of water saying, “suppose there is poison (even just a little) in this water. Can I make it pure by adding the world’s best spring water to it?” Even if he added a gallon of the world’s cleanest water you still wouldn’t drink it because it still has poison in it. The water wouldn’t be pure until you got the poison out.

It’s the same with the poison (sin) in our lives. We don’t become pure just by adding good, we also need to stop sinning, removing anything from our lives that makes us stumble. In the passage above Jesus uses the hyperbole of radical surgery to make this point.

Are you pursuing purity? Are you willing to get rid of the poison?

“Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1) 

Having begun as a guest speaker in 2005, Dan was appointed Interim Pastor in 2008 and has been serving Maple Root Baptist ever since. As a small group leader and Chaplin for the Connecticut Tigers, Dan has a heart for the lost and the God that saves them.

Dan Kinnaman

Pastor, Maple Root Baptist Church