Purity and holiness are two words that that came across my path so much the last couple of weeks and not only mine. It is as if YHVH is urging His children to focus on becoming pure and holy before Him. Purity and holiness aren’t new, YHVH has always required it of us, but it is as if there is an urgency to this. We have to be pure and holy. Why is this necessary, you may wonder? Let’s see what YHVH said about purity and holiness.
Purity and holiness
When you study YHVH’s word, you will learn that YHVH requires purity and holiness from us. We are to become holy for He is holy and pure because He is pure.
44 â€˜For I am YHVH your Elohim. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. And you shall not make yourselves unclean with any of the swarming things that swarm on the earth.
2 â€œSpeak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, â€˜You shall be holy, for I YHVH your Elohim am holy.
What is holiness?
To be holy is to be set apart. To be set apart is to follow and do as YHVH did. YHVH gave us instructions and we are to be obedient to these instructions. That is set apartness or holiness.
Y’shua also said we are to become like Him, He too was holy and He also did YHVH’s instructions.
15 â€œFor I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.
1 John 2:6
6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
1 Peter 1:16â€“17
16 because it is written, â€œYou shall be holy, for I am holy.â€ 17 If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each oneâ€™s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;
From this we see that this holiness is still required. Y’shua didn’t change that, to the contrary, He came to show us how to live holy lives. He even taught us to follow the spirit of the law which is stricter than the word of the law. Read Matthew 5:21-48 for understanding.
Y’shua was the personification of holiness and He is our example.
What is purity?
An absence of blemish or stain, especially sin. The state of being morally and spiritually pure, which is seen by Scripture as the result of being the people of God and also as an expected distinguishing mark of the church.3
Purity is both physical and spiritual. Sin makes us spiritually impure. Sin is transgression of YHVH’s commandments.
1 John 3:4
4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.
So, whenever we transgress YHVH’s law or commandments, we become spiritually impure. This impurity causes separation between us and YHVH.
2 But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your Elohim, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.
This separation causes YHVH not to hear us. This is the reason we must live spiritually pure lives. We have written about spiritual impurity before, you can read about it in Spiritual uncleanness and shadowsâ€¦
We also understand from Scripture that physical or ritual purity is required by YHVH.
31 â€œThus you shall keep the sons of Israel separated from their uncleanness, so that they will not die in their uncleanness by their defiling My tabernacle that is among them.â€
However, there is currently no Temple, so we are all ritually unclean as we have all at some stage come in contact with a dead person, directly or via another person, and have not followed the proper procedure to be cleansed. The ashes of a red heifer is required for this ceremony and we don’t have that. We have elaborated more on this topic in the article Yâ€™shua and the laws of clean and unclean.
We have now looked at holiness, or set apartness and purity. To simplify the relation between these, set apartness or holiness is basically what we have to do to achieve purity . If we keep YHVH’s commandments, which is set apartness, we will be pure and there will be no separation between YHVH and us.
Why live pure and holy lives?
We know that living pure and holy lives are required of us by YHVH, and also that not living this way will cause separation between YHVH and us. However, there is another more important reason. Most would tell you that if you do YHVH would bless you, but that is not the reason. When we live pure and holy lives, we glorify YHVH.We make His kingdom known on earth. That should be our motive. We are to do it for Him, not for ourselves. Society has become so self-focussed, we always want to know what is in it for me. Being set apart and pure should be done out of fear (read respect) for our heavenly Father and to glorify His name. it is not about us.
Here are a few facets of purity to consider.
Our previous article was about The Power of Words. YHVH’s words are pure, refined seven times. This serves as an example for us weare to think seven times before we speak. Words has the power to build up or destroy.
6 The words of YHVH are pure words; As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.
Our bodies are vessels for YHVH’s Spirit. We are for this reason to keep our bodies pure and undefiled. This starts with being modestly dressed.
1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of Elohim, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to Elohim, which is your spiritual service of worship.
1 Thessalonians 4:3â€“5
3 For this is the will of Elohim, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know Elohim;
Pure in heart
Our lives are to be holy and pure, but not only on the outside. YHVH knows our hearts
1 Surely Elohim is good to Israel, To those who are pure in heart!
8 â€œBlessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see Elohim.
Most people know that YHVH knows our hearts.
YHVH knows my heart
Yes He does indeed! YHVH knows everything! However, this phrase is often used as an excuse to do unrighteousness. By unrighteousness I mean, breaking YHVH’s commandments.
Let us look at the context this phrase is used in.
Our outward appearace
1 Samuel 16:7
7 But YHVH said to Samuel, â€œDo not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for Elohim sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but YHVH looks at the heart.â€
Samuel was sent by YHVH to Jesse to annoint the new king and he was looking at Jesse’s sons, wondering who it might be. He was looking at their outward appearace and YHVH corrected him. From this we learn that outward appearace doesn’t mean as much to YHVH, but what is in the heart. To YHVH it is not important what we wear or don’t wear, but our relationship with Him matters.
We as human beings have an inherent need to belong. One of the ways we do this is to dress the way the group we are in does. In the Hebrew roots movement this means mostly tallits and kippa’s to men and dresses or headcoverings to women. Some of these are worn as a result of conviction, but to others it is worn as “identifiers.” We are to be careful of this, as outward appearace can become too important to us. It is in actual fact not important at all. If you do feel convicted to do it, by all means, but let it not be a stumbling block to another.
One area of outward appearance that is important is modesty, but that should be a given for all believers. We can bring YHVH’s name in disrepute and be a stumbling block to another, by wearing immodest clothing.
The next area is our ways.
1 Kings 8:39
39 then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive and act and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart You know, for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men,
Take note, YHVH will render to each according to his ways, whose heart He knows. What we do is important to YHVH, but what is in our heart when we do it, more important. He gave us instructions for our lives. However, we are to follow these instructions out of loving obedience to Him, not as a way to gain from YHVH or to be seen by others. YHVH knows our hearts which means He knows our motives for doing what we do.
This could possibly be the reason the apostles prayed to YHVH to help them choose an apostle to replace Judas. They had a choice of two righteous men, but YHVH knew which one’s heart was in it.
24 And they prayed and said, â€œYou, YHVH, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen
In 1 Chronicles David speaks to his son Solomon and tells him to serve YHVH with a whole heart and willing mind for YHVH searches the hearts and understands the intent of the thoughts. So, even if we do righteousness, but not with a pure heart, YHVH knows it and will render to us accordingly.
1 Chronicles 28:9
9 â€œAs for you, my son Solomon, know the Elohim of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for YHVH searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.
Rote routine is not what YHVH wants from us. In Isaiah 1:2-15, we read how YHVH reproved Israel for doing this. They were doing sacrifices and celebrating YHVH’s appointed times, but their hearts were not in it as they have turned away from YHVH.
In verse 17 He tells them what he required of them:
16 â€œWash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, 17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.
This washing YHVH is referring to is repentance. YHVH then continues
18 â€œCome now, and let us reason together,â€ Says YHVH, â€œThough your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool. 19 â€œIf you consent and obey, You will eat the best of the land; 20 â€œBut if you refuse and rebel, You will be devoured by the sword.â€ Truly, the mouth of YHVH has spoken.
YHVH tells us what He requires of us. He wants our hearts, not rote routine in what we do for Him. We can live righteously and not please YHVH, if we live so only outwardly. Each of us knows our own hearts just as YHVH knows our hearts. He knows loving obedience and he knows rebellion and he will recompence each according to his/her deeds.
3 Who may ascend into the hill of YHVH? And who may stand in His holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood And has not sworn deceitfully.
YHVH knows falseness and deceit. We can’t hide anything from Him. Let us therefor ask Him to create a clean heart in us and let us live holy and pure lives to glorify His name.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O Elohim, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
- All quoted passages are from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995. We have substituted YHVH for LORD and Yâ€™shua for Jesus.
- Harrison, E. F. (1979â€“1988). Holiness; Holy. In G. W. Bromiley (Ed.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Vol. 2, p. 725). Wm. B. Eerdmans.
- Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser.