(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Being Made Pure
By Daniel Jae
“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”
– Matthew 5:8
This is from Jesus’ sermon on the mount when he gives the beatitudes. People get cute with this section and come up with the puns like, “This the Beautiful Attitude” that Jesus wants you to have in your life. Or “If you have any desire that is not of God, especially when it comes to sin, you will not see God.” Purity culture has a tendency to surround itself with, “If you do this then you will get that,” and “If you don’t do this then you won’t get that” and it can become very transactional when we forget the heart of the gospel: Jesus loves you. Now, that is not a cliché term to just throw around to make you feel better about yourself. When you look at the heart of the gospel, it’s about Jesus loving you and dying for that sin that you are about to commit. He didn’t need to know what he would get back in return, he simply died for you and that is the definition of unconditional love. The more that we can get that reality into our hearts and our minds, we don’t have to strive to try and be pure, our whole life changes because Jesus has made you pure through his blood.
There’s another tendency with the beatitudes that people tend to get wrong and that is that “You need to change your behavior to look or be more Christian.” Have you ever taken a moment to think about all the Christians in the world, with their different cultures, and yet they all come to Jesus because he promises one thing, “You will have eternal life.” That is the promise that people have continued to hold onto throughout human history. There is not a condition that you need to be perfect or continue to be perfect in order to have eternal life. He says in John 3:15, “that whoever believe in him may have eternal life.” Your belief in Jesus gives you eternal life, and that is the most important part of someone’s life, who does their soul belong to? So when we look into purity for our lives, we must look at it through the lens of Jesus on the cross.
Having inappropriate relationships, thoughts, or actions is definitely things we want to have less frequency, eventually nil, in our lives, but look to Jesus before you look to simply changing that behavior. There are so many stories out there where people have lived a life full of licentiousness and there is a moment when Jesus overtakes their life and they no longer live that life anymore. When Paul was on the road to Damascus (Acts 9) he was killing anyone that would utter the name of Jesus. Then Jesus appears to him and asks, “Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?” Jesus intervenes in the middle of his life, while he’s doing the sinful action and confronts his soul. Paul is blinded for 3 days until he goes into a community and they receive him, baptize him and this is where his life becomes wholly devoted to Jesus. This is purity and it differs from purity culture because it puts your eyes on Jesus and not on yourself.
When we pursue after Jesus and do not allow the world to come take our eyes to other things we are pure. Our eyes are for nobody else but Jesus. Even when you are married, you want you and your spouse to look to Jesus before you look to each other, because there are soul things in our lives that our spouse cannot fix, but can only be transformed by Jesus. Your pursuit for purity is not about getting self-help to feel better about yourself, but it is to step into your calling that Jesus calls you into.
Find out more about Pastor Daniel Jae and The Rock Church by visiting www.sdrock.com