If something is “pure”, it is free from any other mixture or contamination. When we choose to drink filtered, spring, or distilled water from a bottle we expect it to be free from impurities. Advertisers market these bottles with phrases like “100% natural” or “100% mountain spring water.” How can we trust that it is 100% free from impurities? The phrase “100% spring water” refers not to the absence of impurities in the water, but to the source of the water itself. That is, 100% of the water in the bottle came from an underground source (i.e. a spring), rather than from a surface water. This can be misleading, as not even the most filtered water will ever remove 100% of the impurities. Some studies today even show that a significant portion of water bottled today is no more pure than tap water.
The Bible speaks of God as completely pure and free from any impurity of sin. One Psalmist provides a clear revelation of the perfect nature of our God, “For I will proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God! “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.”
James 1:13 indicates that not only is God pure and holy, but He cannot even be tempted with evil. The prophet Habakkuk clearly demonstrates how much God hates evil and will not tolerate it. “You (God) who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong” (Habakkuk 1:13).
Imagine a crystal clear cold glass of ice-water on a hot day. That sounds refreshing! Now, imagine someone dropping one drop of blood filled with a deadly virus into that water. You wouldn’t imagine drinking or even desiring to drink that water. It would be filthy to you. How much more does God hate sin, including the sin in our lives? Because God is pure and holy, He will not allow sin to be in his presence. We cannot spend eternity with God in heaven filled with the impurities of sin. This is why our just God dealt harshly with our sin, by sending His own Son to absorb the full punishment of our impurity on the cross. Only when we are “saved,” clothed with the perfection of Christ, and our sins are taken away can we operate in a personal relationship with God. We are treated by God as if we had never sinned because Jesus took all the wrath directed at us and credited our life with His perfection.
We are now righteous and pure in God’s eyes, and we possess God Himself—the Holy Spirit lives in us. It is for this reason God calls us to live pure lives like the new creatures God made us. Christians are to separate themselves from evil and be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16).
Why should we seek to live pure lives? Purity allows us to see God’s person, power, and plans more clearly. Just as it is more difficult to see clearly the road ahead of you if you have a muddy windshield, it is difficult to perceive God’s will when we live impure lives. Jesus himself said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” In The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis wrote, “It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to.” True believers want to see God and want to honor God with their lives. Seeking to live holy lives also allows us to possess the joy of His blessed presence in our lives as we walk in His strength and live for His glory. We show others the holy nature of God when we (his representatives) live holy lives.