In Titus 3:5-6 Paul instructs older women to teach what is good so younger women can learn to be… pure! Did you catch that? Purity is something that is learned!
Contrast this with the popular thought that purity is something to be retained, something you don’t want to lose.
But scripture makes it clear “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) and David even says in Psalm 51:5, “Surly I was sinful from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” It’s so easy to look at an adorable baby and think he or she is a blank slate, entering the world pure, but that’s not what scripture teaches. In Isaiah 64:6 we’re told even our righteous acts are like filthy rags!
The Greek word used here for purity is ἀγνος which means “pertaining to being without moral defect or blemish and hence pure.” (Louw and Nida). It is closely related to ἀγιος which means “pertaining to being holy in the sense of superior moral qualities and possessing certain essentially divine qualities in contrast with what is human —‘holy, pure, divine.”
So how does one learn to be like this?
In John 1:29 when John the Baptist sees Jesus coming towards him he exclaims, “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” And 1 John 1:7 says, “the blood of Jesus Christ God’s son cleanses us from all sin.” And 1 John 1:9 states, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just, to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Purity comes from Jesus! You learn to be pure by learning to run to Him and receive the cleansing that only He can give.
So here is the reality – if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17) After David commits adultery with Bathsheba then arranges the murder of her husband, when he finally repents he exclaims, “Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7
Do you realize if you have entered into a relationship with Jesus, you have been made whiter than snow? You are pure.
But there’s someone who doesn’t want you to get this! The enemy knows if he can get you to keep seeing yourself as an impure mess, it’s much easier to get you to fall and isolate you.
A few months ago I cringed in horror as Anna on Downton Abbey was raped. And if that wasn’t bad enough it was heartbreaking to go all month watching the effects of this on her relationship with her husband Bates. She even moved out of their house! When he finally discovers the truth, she shares she didn’t tell him because she was embarrassed and felt soiled. But what a difference it makes in their relationship when he takes her in his arms affirming he doesn’t see her that way at all! What we believe about ourselves really makes a huge difference in our relationships!
So please get this – ever since the Fall (Genesis 3) no one, other than Jesus, is born pure! There is only one way we can be made pure and continue pure and that is through Jesus.
In the next few posts we’ll look at practical ways older women can help younger women learn do this!