KEEPING PURE IN AN IMPURE WORLD

“…keep thyself pure.”

I TIM. 5:22b

The spiritual highways of America are strewn with the immoral wreckage of Bible-believing Christians who have fallen due to inappropriate and immoral conduct. For many years this writer kept a written list of God’s men whose ministries had been morally discredited, but the list finally became too long.

With the last of the moral restraints being swiftly removed from American society and the floodgates of ungodliness being unleashed and deluging our culture, sensual temptations abound on every hand. Without question, it is becoming more difficult for genuine believers to retain moral purity. The inerrant Scriptures make it abundantly plain, however, that despite the evil trends, believers can keep both their internal attitudes as well as their outward actions pure in this impure world.

BIBLICAL PURITIES

As we scan the Scriptures, we quickly learn that that (a) The Scriptures are pure: “Every word of God is pure”—Prov. 30:5; (b) The Saviour is pure. In John 8:46, he could rightly say, “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” Heb. 4:15 says that Christ was “in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (c) The Sacred city, the New Jerusalem, is pure. Rev. 21:27 states that “there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth.” It is good logic, then, that the saint should also be pure!

REASONS FOR THIS ADMONITION

For several reasons, this brief and succinct exhortation by the Apostle Paul in I Tim. 5:22b is one of the most important commands in Scripture. (1) Because apart from this great character trait, we cannot experience and know God intimately. In Matt. 5:8, Christ said: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (2) Because it occupies a high priority with God. James 3:17 states that the wisdom that comes from is “firsts pure, then peaceable.” (3) Because purity is an emphasis of Scripture.

THE EMPHASIS OF SCRIPTURE

The order that James delineates above is vitally important. The emphasis that God gives to any subject/theme/topic is the same that we must give to it. For instance, the words “righteousness” and “reconciliation” are both Bible words, and therefore neither can be neglected. But for every one time, you find the word “reconcile/reconciliation” in Scripture, 25 times you will discover the word “righteous/righteousness” or its equivalent! The vertical (righteousness) in Scripture is far more important than the horizontal (reconciliation.)

This is also true in the contrast between the words “pure/purity” and “peace/peaceable” in God’s Word. For every one time you find the word “peace,” you will find the word “pure” or its equivalent seven times! Now the word “pure” comes from the same Greek root word for “Holy.” The word “pure” simply means “free from defilement,” that is keeping your soul and body free from the contamination of evil and sin. This purity includes both an internal purity in spirit—our inner affections/attitudes—plus an external purity in body, in actions and affirmations.

This writer would like to suggest three Biblical means by which believers can keep pure in an impure age.

I

Memorization

Memorization is the first vital ingredient in keeping pure. In Ps. 119:11, the psalmist said, “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.” It is significant here that the psalmist states that God’s Word must be hid-buried-in the heart, not just the mind.

While the word “heart” in Scripture can represent the physical organ of the body or the depraved sinful nature, the heart here represents the “hidden springs of the personal life,” and actually includes the intellectual, the emotional and the volitional parts of our inner being. The reason: the emotions and the will are all included in the “heart” about which the Psalmist speaks.

Of course, it is impossible to “hide” God’s word in the heart, unless you actually memorize the Scriptures in/with your mind. Timothy was an intimate companion and a valuable co-laborer with the Apostle Paul during his lengthy ministry. One of the secrets to Timothy’s spiritual success is delineated in II Tim. 3:15 where the apostle Paul says about Timothy that “from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

MEMORIZATION AT AN EARLY AGE

As a young lad, under his mother’s and grandmother’s tutorship, Timothy had gained an excellent acquaintance with the O. T. Scriptures. As a child, he had obviously thoroughly read the contents of the O. T. and memorized many of its key passages.

THE EDITOR’S TRAINING IN MEMORIZATION

When this writer was growing up in his former home church in Warren, MI, that church sponsored a weekly eight year Bible study program called “The Junior Bible School” that was operated by a group called the “Missionary Workers Association [MWA].”

This eight year program was divided into two segments, an “under-graduate” section and a “graduate” section. Once a week, for 39 weeks a year, the MWA would come to Bible-believing churches all around the Metropolitan Detroit area and for 1½ hours, they would conduct this “Junior Bible school.” The program began when you were 5 years old and concluded at age 13, some 8 years later. During that first year, as a five year old lad, yours truly literally memorized hundreds of Scriptures verses, verses that still stick to his mental and spiritual ribs today. This writer vividly recalls that the last two years of that 8 year program, he took courses on the “Missionary Journeys of Paul” and “Soul-Winning.” [That’s right-an entire year’s course invested in teaching young teens how to win souls!]

This writer well remembers the dean at a Christian University, who memorized just one verse a week for his entire adult lifetime. In one year, that totals 52 verses, which in 10 years equals 520 verses and in 30 years actually adds up to 1560 verses committed to memory! If a child, aged 10, began such a memory program and lived to be only 70 years old that would be 3160 verses, a considerable total.

Dr. Solomon Aordkian is a Connecticut chiropractor who receives the F. D. magazine. He is not only a fervent KJB defender, but also one of its fervent disseminators. He recently sent this editor a paper that contained some helpful hints for Scripture memorization.

SOME PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS FROM A CHRISTIAN CHIROPRACTOR

Dr. Aordkian said: “Bible verse memorization is a key element in your Christian growth. If you determine to do so, God will give you a love for His Word. The Holy Spirit is there to help you. When you love doing something like Bible memorization it is not hard, but it is a blessing. Bible memorization is a wonderful tool when you have an opportunity to witness for the Lord. You may or may not have your Bible with you, but you can say the verses you have learned to give a gospel witness or a word of encouragement.”

This writer would like to add that these memorized verses also constitute the first vital ingredient in keeping yourself pure! As a learning stimulant, he is printing Dr. Aordkian’s suggestions for Bible memorization

(a) The main ingredient to Bible verse memorization is to repeat, repeat, repeat! Saying the verse or verses aloud to yourself over and over again is very important.

(b) Choose verses that have meaning to you personally. Start by choosing verses with which you are already familiar.

(c) When you choose to memorize a passage of 5-8 verses, memorize two at a time.

(d) Always say the reference to your verses at the beginning and at the end. Memorizing the verse with the address is important.

(e) When writing or speaking the verse be word perfect, including the punctuation.

(f) Have a notebook just for the verses you are memorizing. Also write out the verses on small cards and keep them in a special holder. This is an easy way to carry them around and make use of leisure or idle time. Before I go to bed at night, I memorize my verses.

(g) Adopt the “buddy” system”; team up with a close friend. You can help each other memorize Scripture by saying the verses to each other one at a time. The Bible says that “iron sharpens iron.” Being accountable will help you to be disciplined.

(h) After you learn a verse perfectly, you must review your verses daily or you will forget them. Review! Review! Review!

(i) Use the King James Bible exclusively! [Ed: Almost no one memorizes verses from the diluted modern versions!]

(II)

Meditation

The second step in keeping pure is Biblical meditation. The writer here emphasizes Bible based meditation because there are several pseudo-satanic substitutes today which naïve believers, Charismatics, many New-Evangelicals and Emergent church adherents are accepting and advocating today.

UNSCRIPTURAL MEDITATIVE PRACTICES

Labyrinth meditation is a false unscriptural form of meditation. The Aug.-Sept. 2010 copy of The Fundamentalist Digest (pp. 6-7) contained an expose of this pseudo-meditation technique in which individuals walk around a circular type flat structure, going through meditative processes as they walk. The Labyrinth can actually be traced back to Greek mythology and its pagan gods

Yoga is another form of Unbiblical meditation which many naïve advocates don’t even recognize is a pagan religious practice. Yoga is actually a New-Age practice that is an offshoot of Brahman Hinduism in which one supposedly breathes in and breathes out the “spirit.” Yoga claims to produce a bond between the mind and the body, whereby one purportedly can experience spiritual enlightenment. Yoga is a subtle form of the occultic eastern religions.

Buddhism is becoming one of most popular eastern religions in America. In Buddhism, an individual sits in a Buddhist temple and meditates on the body-mind process. Through this type meditation, individuals supposedly can reach the ultimate human potential that their minds can ponder, but it is satanic.

Perhaps the most dangerous and increasingly popular form of pseudo-meditation is so-called “Contemplative Meditation,” sometimes called “Contemplative Mysticism” or “Contemplative Spirituality.” This pseudo-meditation first became known when a R.C. priest called “Father Lawrence” wrote a book describing his “meditative” experiences. Three noted psychologists/theologians today: Richard Foster, Dallas Willard and Dr. Leonard Sweet have become its most prominent advocates, deceiving countless number of naïve Charismatics, New-Evangelicals, and Emergent church advocates who have accepted its dangerous tenets.

Contemplative Meditation alleges that you have to quietly meditate so that you can hear the inner voice of the spirit talk to you. The longer you can quietly sit and meditate, the more that “inner” divine voice can communicate to you, but like all the other false meditation systems, Contemplative Meditation borrows from the pagan religious systems.

A BIBLICAL PLAN

Amidst these numerous pseudo-contemplation systems, the Scriptures promote a genuine BIBLICAL-BASED MEDITATION. The O. T. word “meditate” means to “ponder” or to “muse,” that is to seriously consider and think about the Scriptures you have read and memorized! The N. T. word means “to revolve in the mind” or to “circle around,” that is to carefully and prayerfully consider all the aspects of the Scripture you have read/memorized. Biblical meditation is a vital component in keeping pure and cannot be over emphasized. The book of Psalms greatly emphasizes the importance of meditation.

In the Psalms, readers are exhorted to meditate upon three vital themes: (a) The Word of God: Over and over again, in the Psalms, the psalmist exhorts readers to meditate upon the Scriptures: Psalms 119 is particularly the psalm of the Word-the Word of God. Note the following admonitions in that great chapter: [1] “I will meditate upon all thy precepts…”—v. 15; [2] “thy servant did meditate in they statutes”—v. 23; [3] “I will meditate in thy statutes”—v. 48; [4] “I will meditate in thy precepts”—v. 78; [5] “thy testimonies are my meditation”—v. 99.

(b) The Wisdom of God: “My mouth shall speak wisdom: and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.”—Ps. 49:3. Of course, the particular book of wisdom and understanding in Scripture is the book of Proverbs. The book of Proverbs contains hundreds of “wise” sayings upon which believers should contemplate, meditate and ponder.

(c) The works of God: “I will meditate also of all of thy work, and talk of thy doings”—Ps. 77:12. When the Psalmist in Ps. 77:14 stated that “Thou art the God that doest wonders,” he was not overstating the facts about God’s wondrous acts in [1] creation—Ps. 8:3-4; [2] at Calvary—II Cor. 5:21, and in the miraculous [3] conversion of sinners—I Pet. 1:23.

Once again, it is the meditation of the heart—the spiritual innersprings of the soul—that the Psalmist emphasizes: “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer”—Ps. 19:14.

THE MEDITATIVE SEASONS

To maintain continual purity, the believer must correspondingly meditate on those three “W’s” above all the day long. Biblical meditation must (a) begin in the morning—“in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (b) Biblical meditation must include the night season: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night...” Joshua 1:8; “When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches”—Ps. 63:6. But this meditation (c) should continue during the day, amidst the busy schedule of life: “O how I love thy law. It is my meditation all the day”—Ps. 119:97

This writer confesses that, regretfully, he has gone through many “labor-work” days for the Lord, where his thoughts and ponderings have not been on God’s Word, God’s wisdom or God’s works. He has gone it alone throughout the day, without regular contemplation upon the One who made possible that day!

Why did God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? One might immediately say: because of their sodomy; because this city was composed of impure residents whose thoughts and actions were impure and filthy. But that reason considers the results, not the cause!

THE SHOCKING CAUSE BEHIND SODOM’S WICKED SINS

If you will read Christ’s analysis of that city in Luke 17:28, you will discover that Jesus said Sodom’s residents “did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded.” Was there anything inherently wrong in eating, drinking [non-intoxicating beverages], buying, selling, planting and building? NO! These were all legitimate functions of society.

The major problem of Sodom’s residents was that they had no time for God in their daily schedules. They never contemplated the Word of God, the wisdom of God or the works of God. They were so busy building their lives around themselves, that they established a secular society. And where secularism reigns, sensualism will rise!

To keep pure in an impure world, believers must invest time in meditation!

(III)

Mortification

The third Biblical ingredient necessary to keep pure in an impure world is Biblical mortification. This Biblical word, found twice in the N. T. Scriptures, is a word foreign to most Americans today and widely unknown to most believers. Yet it is a vital truth with regards to maintaining spiritual purity.

Rom. 8:13 states: “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Sprit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live,” while Col. 3:5 says: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupscience, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”

THE MEANING OF THE WORD

Now the word “mortification” simply means “to put to death.” and refers to our sinful nature and sinful actions. This act of “putting to death” was done positionally in the past in God’s action via Christ’s death on the cross, when Christ was put to death on our behalf, but it must be practically ratified via the believers actions in our bodies on this earth (Rom. 8:13).

A CLOSELY RELATED WORD

But someone may say, if “mortification” is so important, why is it only mentioned twice in Scripture? There is a related word which believers will quickly recognize that is quite similar in meaning, but that also has its own enriching truth. It is the word “crucify” or “crucifixion.” In Scofield’s references on Col. 3:5, he relates this word “mortify” to Gal. 5:24 which states: “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts.”

The word “crucify” likewise means to put to death or to kill. From a human perspective, on the cross, Christ was “put to death.” From a divine perspective, we know that this death was on our behalf. It was for our sin that Christ suffered and died—Is. 53:5-6, II Cor. 5:21, I Peter 2;24.

Now the apostle takes that same word “crucify” and links our spiritual crucifixion of the old nature to Christ’s crucifixion on the cross. Note Paul’s words in Gal. 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and then life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

THE GREAT CHAPTER ON MORTIFICATION-CRUCIFIXION

Romans chapter six is really the classic chapter in Scripture on mortification. In fact, Romans 6:1-8:16 actually deals with the Biblical truth of sanctification, a truth which involves the negative putting away of sin—separation (Eph. 4:22-24), as well as the positive truth of sanctification—I Thess. 4:4-6. In Rom. 6:6, Paul says: “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

In his commentary on Romans 8:13, Roy Laurin declares that this word “mortify” means to “make to die.” Laurin states that thus mortification is “not a single action, but a gradual process.“ Laurin notes that the word “mortify” relates not only to our outward deportment, but also to our inward disposition!

A PRACTICAL BIBLICAL EXAMPLE OF MORTIFICATION

This mortification is practically illustrated in Ps. 101:2-3 when the Psalmist states that he would behave himself wisely in a perfect way, even when he is alone, in private by himself. It is in private that the real man comes to the surface. What a Christian man/woman thinks/does in private reveals his/her real spiritual character.

The Psalmist says: “I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before my eyes.” This statement can rightly be applied to pornographic magazines, computer searching, and television watching when a believer is alone. The words of Prov. 4:25 and Job 31:1 also aptly apply here—both in private and public: “Let thine eyes look right on and thine eyelids look straight before thee.” “I made a covenant with mine eyes: why then should I think upon a maid.” These words are practical mortification—they involve a practical purity on the nitti-gritty level where we daily live.

THE SCRIPTURAL PLAN FOR MORTIFICATION

But how can such mortification occur, how can this crucifixion and death and take place? The apostle Paul delineates two spiritual means: (1) This mortification can be achieved only by surrender and yieldness to the Holy Spirit of God.: “If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live”—Rom. 8:13 In Gal. 5:15 Paul states: “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.”

2. Setting our affections on heavenly matters; that is, living for the eternal rather than the temporal: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth”—Col. 3:1-2.

And why should we do that? Because in the next verse, Col. 3:3, we read that we “are dead,” and our “life is hid with Christ in God.” This chimes in with Paul’s statements in Rom. 6:2, 6:8 and 6:11: “God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin live any longer therein?”; “Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him”; “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

CONCLUSION

Keeping pure in an impure age is still possible via the Biblical components of memorization, meditation and mortification! Some practical final considerations are delineated below especially for Christian men:

1. Avoid unnecessary solicitations to impurity in both private and public places by following the suggestions cited above in this article.

2. If you are unnecessarily tempted by “pictures,” avoid hanging around magazine counters with lustful covers. If necessary, have your wife do the checkout at the grocery counter, while you stand on the other side nearby. Watch the eye gate closely—Matt. 6:22-23.

3. Confess your impurity immediately when it occurs either with the eye gate or the mind gate—I John 1:9, Ps. 66:18, Prov. 28:13.

4. Listen to sound traditional Christian music when you are alone and ask God to keep those memorized Scripture portions at the top of your mental retention.

5. Don’t tell your spouse every time you miss the mark on impurity. Talk it over with your Saviour. However, let your wife be a spiritual guard. If you are unnecessarily tempted to impurity by solitary settings, don’t ever close the door where your computer or TV is located!

6 If you feel that you are especially weak regarding sensual temptation, purchase moral “guards” for your computer that prevent you from sensual searches and don’t secure extra cable/satellite services where impure/pornographic films are readily available.

D. J.: The editor considers this article to be one of the most important he has ever penned! He hopes that it will prevent unwholesome tragedies and preserve the testimonies of single saints, Christian parents and pastors and Christian workers everywhere. Ps. 17:15 (Life verse—that we quote every day)

A biographical profile of Dr. Jasmin

Also in this issue:

BIBLICAL ARCHEOLOGY HIGHLITES

CONSERVATIVE TALK SHOW HOSTS

RELIGIOUS NEWS FROM A FUNDAMENTALIST PERSPECTIVE

Editorial October-November 2010 The Fundamentalist Digest; Permission granted for reprint, so long as proper credit is given.