Biblegateway Verse of the Day

Seeing God for Purity of Heart

By Benjamin H. Liles

          I absolutely love how Charles Haddon Spurgeon said this: "Believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and ye shall be saved. Whosoever here will now cast himself as a guilty worm flat on Jesus- whoever will throw himself into the arms of everlasting love, that man shall be accepted; he shall go from that door justified and forgiven, with his soul as sate as if he were in heaven, without the danger of its ever being lost. All this is through belief in Christ.." More or less, he's saying, "Forgive me, O Lord, a sinner!" (Luke 18:!3). For that taxpayer has more of a right to heaven than the self-righteous Pharisee.

          The reason he said that to begin with is that when we become joint-heirs of salvation in and through Christ Jesus we're putting off the deeds of darkness for His immeasurable and immutable righteousness; for scripture declares, "The night is nearly over; the day has drawn near. So let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light" (Romans 13:12, Berean Study). 

          But I ask this question: how are we to put off the flesh, the darkness that prevails over us, and do the things of God in and through our lives? I also love how David said it to God: "God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10, Holman Christian Standard). Those two verses, in my mind, tell me both Paul and David were humbled through the Spirit of God to see themselves as sinful. When we see ourselves as God sees us, sinful, and not necessarily evil in our intents, He can deal and deliver us from such things, but it's an activity of as Paul says, "Work out your salvation in fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12).

          To answer the question of how we deal with putting off the deeds of the flesh we have to submit to Christ's leadership and authority in our lives. It's a call to purity, to live life holy and pleasing unto God. John tells us in his gospel record, "He who believes in Him is not condemned...But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God" (John 3:18-21, New King James). This call to pure living is a result of being born again, renewed by the Spirit of God, having been convicted of being spiritually dead.

          If we look back in the Old Testament, Ezekiel has a vision of dry bones. He's told by God, "
Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord...I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it" (Ezekiel 37:5-6, 14).

          To put it simply, God not only restores the house of Israel by His Holy Spirit, but it is done through the person of Jesus Christ. We have access to God now through His Holy Spirit once we see ourselves dead to Him and slaves to sin. However, to receive His blessing upon us we are to realize there is something wrong and evil within our hearts. For God declares, "This is an evil in everything that is done under the sun: There is one fate for everyone. Furthermore, the hearts of men are full of evil and madness while they are alive, and afterward they join the dead" (Ecclesiastes 9:3, Berean Study). What then is the hope for mankind? But before I answer that there are two other questions to answer.

          Next we must answer the question of how we get rid of the darkness that prevails against us. To fully understand this we need to see that there is one among the world causing others to be blind, putting them in darkness. Once again we look to the gospel of John: "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it" (John 1:4-5, New King James). We cannot begin to discern the light or the things of the light if we are dead in our sins and trespasses. 

          We ought to know that when God says, "The soul that sins shall die," He's saying we are spiriutally dead to Him, and not only that but if we continue on doing so--willfully, the end result is eternal separation from Him. Therefore, it behooves us all to be vigilant in chasing after righteousness. It's not for the sake of us simply being declared righteous and at the expense of others, but rather once we are declared righteous in Him we keep going about doing that same thing in order to be counted approved. 

         As for what can we do to show that God is in control of our lives, fully and pleasing in Him, is a matter of submission to His authority. It doean's mean we do things haphazardly on our own. Rather, we do those things as a result of our faith in the Son Jesus Christ is the begotten Son of God. It's a profession of faith in what He's done on our behalf. We need to take into consideration that Jesus said to his cousin John the Baptist: "The blind see, the lame walk, those with skin diseases are healed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news" (Matthew 11:5). 

          It's a matter of the heart, really. You see, each one of us has a need that only Jesus Christ can fill. He knows our hearts, our hurts, and our faults as well. But He gives grace to those who are humble and willing to change. Hence the reason in the gospel record we see both John tha Baptist and Jesus both proclaiming, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel" (Matthew 3:2; 4:17; Mark 1:15). therefore, Jesus came to deal with the issue of our sins at the cross, His kingdom has come and is still here, and we all should change our hearts to turn away from our sinful lives, beliving the good news of Christ coming near delivering us from death and evil.

          That brings us then to these concluding thoughts. Jesus Christ is our hope. In Him mankind has a Savior and Lord. But we must be willing to do as He says which is to pick up our cross daily, submitting ourselves to Him and His ways, to put off evil, to be holy as He is, to be pure at all times (not just once a week on Sundays), and to do good to all. We're told in Micah's letter, "Do good, live justly, and walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8). The whole point is God is first in our lives, and next those around us, to render His justice not as we see fit, but as His will dictates to do good, and to treat one another in the same manner as Christ did on our behalf -- to be willing to die for our faith.

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