All of us want to go to heaven. As seekers of that heavenly city, we all share the same struggles. One of these struggles is to be physically pure. Our bodies are to be a living sacrifice unto the Lord. Ro 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. Under the Law of Moses, the physical sacrifices had to be without spot and without blemish.(Num. 19:2) It is difficult to keep our bodies without blemish from and by sin; that is the struggle.
We cannot control the weather. We cannot control our environment. We cannot control other people whether it be friends, enemies, coworkers, bosses or even family. We may coach, mentor, guide and influence but we cannot control others. The one thing and one person I can control is myself. I often do not even do a good job of that. It is a struggle to do good and not to do evil. Paul understood that. Rom 7: 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. Paul knew that the struggle against sin was never ending and had to be constantly guarded against. 1Co 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
The attraction of the world and worldly things is very strong. It is so easy to fall in love with the world because it is tangible now and can be experienced through the five senses. We can only see heaven through the eye of faith and sometimes it seems so far away. John warned of the appeal of this world and told us about nature of those struggles. 1Jo 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. The fall of man (Gen 3) included all three avenues (lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life) of temptation. Jesus’ temptation after his forty day fast included all these temptations. (Mat. 4:1-11) Jesus and only Jesus was able to live perfectly. Heb 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
The Bible is replete with warnings about physical impurity and encouragements for physical purity. Rom 8: 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. Mt 5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. Ro 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. Col 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 1Co 6:15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. I Co. 6; 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
Half the battle is recognizing the gravity of the situation and the ominous threat. However we do not need to throw up our hands in despair because we can be victorious. 1Co 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Heb 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised). Will we always take advantage of that way of escape? I wish we would but we will not always do so. Yet, God still provides hope. I John 2: 1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 1Jo 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. May God bless us all in the struggle for physical purity.
Part two coming next week.