Purification from Sin
God is holy. The Bible calls Him holy, holy, holy.
He is set apart from all creation. God is pure, and will not tolerate sin. Any of it.
Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”
Sin is anything I think, say, or do that displeases God. There has never been a person anywhere other than God who hasn’t sinned. God hates sin. It mocks his glory, it offends Him to the uttermost, and He will have no part of it.
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Sin is a crime against God, and the punishment is separation from God now and eternal judgment from God throughout eternity.
You cannot enjoy the presence of God unless you are purified from sin.
That’s a problem, but there is good news. That’s what the word “Gospel” means. Good news. It’s a simple solution. We teach children the ABC’s of salvation. Admit that I am a sinner, Believe that Jesus death on the cross took care of my punishment, confess my sin to God.
To the sinner who is willing to say, “I’m sorry. Please, Lord, take my life”, there is purification from sin, and free entrance into the presence of the almighty God.
Wait now. Don’t misunderstand. There is nothing magic about saying a prayer. How many people have walked down an aisle, prayed the prayer and then gone on living like Christ didn’t matter. There is this feeling that if I prayed that special prayer then I’m in.
That turns God into some sort of genie that must comply when you utter a certain spell. It’s like Harry Potter.
Romans 10:9 “…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
In the scriptures, belief always implies action, living out of one’s beliefs. The things I truly believe, I stake my life on. Have you staked your life on Jesus Christ this morning? Or did you just say the Words?
It’s a critical question.
If you have given your whole life to Christ, not implying that you are perfect, not implying that you will never mess up, but stating that you truly want Jesus more than anything, and want him to transform you, making you like Himself, then you have been purified from sin and are graciously ushered into the very presence of God, and may at any and all times go to Him without fearing He will destroy you.
Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Still we struggle against sin, as our enemy, Satan, fights against us and our own human nature has the urge to sin, God is doing a transforming work in our lives making us into a different person.
Romans 12:2 “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.”
What is implied in this verse? As we continue to seek Him out, resisting the effects of the world upon us, God continues to mature us, making us like Him.
The process of transformation can be difficult and painful at times, but it always liberating. I know of no person who after giving himself whole heartedly to God has regretted it.
From grace to grace, God engages in our lives to, in stages; liberate us from the enslaving impact of sin, freeing us to enjoy Him. In this process we discover what Moses of old new.
The pleasures of sin are not worth our time. Anyone can tell you. Sinful living may be alluring at first, but it is always enslaving, dehumanizing, and destructive.
BUT! As Christ transforms us, we discover new pleasures.
As we enter into the presence of God through the purifying work of Jesus Christ, we discover pure pleasure.
Now the word pleasure is bound to make many believers a little nervous. It’s because we associate the word pleasure with sinful pleasure, but that is not how God created us. God created us and found pleasure or joy in doing so:
Rev 4:11 “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”
God took pleasure in creating, and created us to enjoy pleasure. The sad fact is that, because of sin we tend to pursue pleasure as a God, and pursue sinful pleasures that have a destructive effect. There are numerous verses warning us against sinful pleasure.
Proverbs 21:17 speaks against pleasure seeking when it says,
“He who loves pleasure will be a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not be rich.”
But, when you enter into the pleasure of God and submit to his purifying transforming work, your eyes become open to the pleasure of knowing Him. Look back at Matthew 13:44. For joy the man went to sell all he had. In other passages the Greek word there is translated delight. The driving factor is desire for God, and we don’t strive to have things that are drudgery, but instead we seek out those things we enjoy. There is enjoyment in being in the purifying presence of God.
Psalm 16:11 “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
There are wholesome refreshing pleasures: A beautiful sunset, a delicious steak dinner. If you are a hunter or fisher, the act of hunting and fishing is pleasurable. For an artist, it is a great song or piece of art. A game of softball or golf, a good book, planting a garden or for some even mowing the lawn is all pleasurable. Remember playing tag or going for a swim with friends as a child?
God has given us “richly all things to enjoy.” I Timothy 6:17
As God transforms us and we have a close relationship with Him, we come to enjoy Him. There is a pleasure and enjoyment in knowing God. He created us to enjoy Him, just like he made friendship, family, and the marriage relationship to be enjoyed. These things are meant, among other things, to be a pleasure to us. These relationships satisfy us.
The ultimate relationship leads to the ultimate joy, the ultimate pleasure of knowing God. When we enter His presence and He transforms us, what we desire…what satisfies us changes, because He is purifying us.
Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
God will give us the desires of our heart as he transforms us and as our desires turn toward Him and His glory.
Think about it: when you are a child you desired things that adults would have no interest in. That’s because you were a child. In the same way, when we are outside of the Kingdom our desires are enslaved by sin, and we chase after junk that has no lasting value. These things ultimately do not satisfy, and we must constantly pursue newer and better pleasures to keep up the charade that we are satisfied.
When you enter the kingdom and God engages His transformational work, we discover the pure pleasure of knowing God. The delight of seeking Him out through studying and meditating on his word, the joy of speaking with Him and sharing in life with the Lord God, creator and king of call creation.
There is not greater joy, no more satisfying pleasure than knowing God.
I hope you know what I mean. I went through years of Christian living seeking the world while I was seeking Christ, because in my heart I thought that what I really needed was certain things to satisfy me.
I can say that it has only been over the last ten years that I have been in the process of discovering that wonder, joy, pleasure, fun, whatever you want to call it, of knowing God.
If you have not known that joy, and want to discover it, talk to your pastor, or a Christian friend. More importantly, talk to God about it.
It’s easy to do it. “God, I want what Adam is talking about, please help me. “ Sorry, that’s the way I pray. I’m terrible at it. I just sort of gut it out, but praise be to God that He does not depend on me to do His work.
Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
If you ask God to change you, ask God to purify you, bring you into His presence and open your eyes to the pleasure of knowing Him. He will, and you will discover the joy of knowing Jesus.
James 4:8 “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you...”
Maybe you’ve been living a shallow Christian life, and have not experienced this joy. Make your move. Seek God. Ask Him to change you, ask Him to show you in His Word, ask Him to guide you in prayer. He will say yes, move toward the Lord and he will move toward you.
The way will not be easy. The transformation process is tough, but the result is joy, and in the end you will understand the parable of the hidden treasure and be able to gladly sing with the hymn writer Mary James:
All for Jesus, all for Jesus!
All my being’s ransomed powers:
All my thoughts and words and doings,
All my days and all my hours.