Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

Index by Subject

“Be An Example … in Purity”

“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:12-16).

The preceding paragraph of instructions, given by the great Apostle Paul to Timothy, his “son in the faith”, contains much of benefit to all who wear the name of our Lord. The call to diligence in doctrine, love and morality are not exclusive to young evangelists. Rather they are needed for all who would be followers of God.

Of special import to our study is the call to be “…an example … in purity.” Christians are called to the highest of moral standards. The apostle Paul said, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2). Scripture is replete with calls to purity, holiness, righteousness, and sanctification. Christians are said to be, “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people” (1 Peter 2:9). This is possible only if the entirety of their lives are consecrated to God. Because of this, in that same context, Peter writes, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men; as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king” (1 Pe. 2:11-17).

The concept of purity can be illustrated in the burning of dross from metal ore. When all of the impurities are burned up, all that is left is unadulterated, pure metal. It is in this state that the metal is strongest, has the most value, and is fit for use. It matters not what impurity is present, if it indeed is present it weakens the metal and reduces its value. So it is with the child of God.

There are many areas where “impurities” can creep in as we seek to serve our God. Any impurity can lessen our value to God, and make us unacceptable to Him.

The Basis of the Call: God’s Holiness

God calls us to Holiness because His nature demands it! Listen to the words of Jehovah, “Therefore ‘Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters,’ says the LORD Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18). God is intrinsically, fundamentally, wholly holy! As such, His people must present themselves sanctified before Him, for, “…what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people” (2 Corinthians 6:14b-16).

The Holiness of God is a favorite theme of scripture. He only has perfection with regard to holiness. It is not an “attained” perfection, as He ever has been completely righteous. While man can become sanctified by God, and can sully himself by sin, it is not so with God. Holiness is not something he can lose. It is what He is! “Who is like You, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders?” (Exodus 15:11).

God alone is intrinsically holy. However, people can attain a measure of holiness, derived from God. And that is precisely what is required of us as Christians. It is what the grace of God teaches us, (cf. Titus 2:11-14).