March 14, 2019
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you…impurity…
The Greek word that has been used in this passage is ἀκαθαρσία (akatharsia) meaning “uncleanness” or “impurity.” Unclean would mean either being
(1) outwardly dirty or filthy
(2) morally or spiritually impure
(3) infected with a “supernatural contagion” (unclean spirit).
Unclean can also mean corrupt, demoralized, contaminated, tainted or immoral.
In many cultures and religions, there is significant emphasis on removing outward uncleanness, but not inner uncleanness. For example, a priest may not be allowed to utter prayers without purifying himself first; or one is not allowed to eat until they have washed their hands first.
Jesus conveys that there is no ceremonial uncleanness and he challenges us to remove moral and spiritual uncleanness. “Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.” That is, one does not become unclean by the actions of his hands. What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person. (Mark 7:15, 20-23)
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. (Isaiah 64:6)
Uncleanness happens when we use our bodies, minds, souls, or spirits for purposes they weren’t meant for. So get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls. (James 1:21)
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. (1 John 3:3)
On our own, we would remain unclean. With the help of Christ and of his Spirit, we can keep ourselves pure.