Purity: A Preview

I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking of how this study will work itself out.   Since it’s a broad topic and encompasses so much besides just sexual purity, I think we need to look at it in its full context and that’s by starting with a general understanding of what purity means.  I touched on it a bit in the introduction last week about what the definition is, but it’s important to understand that GOD means purity to be so much more than just abstaining from sexual intercourse before marriage.  In fact, HE puts a lot of emphasis on it throughout the BIBLE, so we’ll take a look at the HIStorical context of it as well.

Purity has quite a few synonyms.  Some of the more common ones are:

  • Cleanness
  • Cleanliness
  • Immaculateness
  • Pureness
  • Whiteness
  • Modesty
  • Innocence
  • Chasteness

Some related words are:

  • Goodness
  • Righteousness
  • Virtue
  • Decency
  • decorum
  • Propriety

(Courtesy: Merriam-Webster dictionary)

So, that’s the baseline, dictionary/thesaurus definition of Purity.   It’s a pretty high standard if you ask me (well, you’re probably not asking me since it’s my blog you’re reading and….well…where was I going with this?  NM).  In the Old Testament, the word “purity” is often interchanged with the following words: Cleanness, Humbly/humility, Righteousness, integrity, and upright(ness) are a few of the words most often used.  If you do a search on “Purity” on biblegateway.com and under one of the verses click on the link that says “other translations”, you’ll get what that verse says in pretty much every translation known to man, it’s a pretty neat tool to use.   I’ve done similar search’s with the words ” pure”, “innocence”, and “clean” and pretty much the same verses show up on those searches, so there’s your English class for the day, if you’re a teacher or still in high school or college, I hope I’ve given a thorough yet brief discussion of what the baseline understanding of purity, because now we’re getting to the historical/theological portion.

When I say Historical, you can’t really do a study (well, you can, but I don’t think it would be very complete) on purity unless you begin at the beginning.  The beginning is literally that, in Genesis.  Purity isn’t really used at all in The Genesis account, but what we do see is the word “GOOD”.  5 Times in Genesis 1 after GOD created, he said it was good, and on the sixth day, HE said it was “Very good”.  So how does this fit in with Purity?  Well, this is our historical baseline for purity I believe.  At creation GOD said it was “VERY GOOD”, it was new, it was clean, it was without sin, so, therefore, it was pure.  It isn’t until chapter 3 in Genesis when Satan throws a wrench into the relationship between Humanity and GOD that we have an understanding of what impurity is.   We see that once Adam and Eve ate of the fruit they knew they were naked and felt what…..Shame.  They felt shame because they were naked.   They were naked before they ate the fruit though, so what’s the difference?  The difference is they had an understanding of good and evil.  Their innocence had been compromised.  The Pure became impure and it was all downhill from there.   Sin separated us from that which was pure and HOLY, and that is GOD, the rest of the story, or should I say, History, is made up of man trying to figure out a way to make himself pure again and worthy of attaining some sort of perfection.   We’ll see that once that innocence is lost, man goes in several different directions to either regain that innocence or degrade themselves so that innocence is a forgotten or misunderstood commodity.   The next chapter/blog will look at how GOD used the Old Testament patriarchs to create a new baseline for the standard of purity, but that’s for another day, stay tuned.

I hope this made sense to whoever is reading this, I’m writing this after working 11p-7am and it’s now 9:25 am, but I this was on my heart and in my head and I needed to get it out or I wouldn’t be able to sleep.  Let me know what you think.   I’m interested in any and all input.

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