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Building up believers and the New Testament church

Spiritual Maturity


Virtue is the first area that we are instructed to add in this relationship of faith. Virtue is moral excellence. God is holy, and we are commanded to be holy as He is holy. Holiness is purity--not being defiled by any uncleanness. God promises to be a Father to us if we will separate ourselves from this world and its filth (II Cor. 6:17,18). These areas are very obvious, and the Holy Spirit makes them clear to us immediately on coming to Christ. We are not even to touch the unclean thing. God always deals with uncleanness by separation, and we must do the same.

The commandment is this: "Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (II Cor. 7:1). Entertaining impure thoughts, allowing our desires to be stimulated by impurity, and treating these things with a casual attitude will immediately affect our relationship with God. We often think we can play with these things, the "filthiness of the flesh and spirit," and not get burned, but that is not true. God commands us to set our mind on things above (Col. 3:2) and on those things which are pure (Phil. 4:8). To do this means we must be concerned about what we read, what we look at in the media we are surrounded by, what we listen to, and the influences which we allow in our lives. We often think we can handle the mixture of these things, but God says "cleanse yourself" of that which is defiling.

We cannot be too radical in this area. It is too dangerous to see how close we can get to the edge without being burned. Coldness in our relationship with God can very often be traced to problems right here. Are we willing to be absolute with God? Are we willing to cut off that thing which is offending? How important is our relationship with God? Brothers and sisters, we must be "violent" about these things and not allow anything to defile our relationship with God. If we will, God will keep His promise and draw near to us, and be a Father to us. The choice is ours. Will we obey?

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