2 Corinthians 7:1 - Purification and Holiness.

2 Corinthians 7:1 - Purification and Holiness.

2 Corinthians 7:1 (NIV) Since we have these promises, dear 
friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body 
and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. 

2 Corinthians 7:1 (EAV)  Therefore, since these [great] promises 
are ours, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that 
contaminates and defiles body and spirit, and bring [our] consecration to 
completeness in the [reverential] fear of God. 

2 Corinthians 7:1 (TLB)  Having such great promises as these, 
dear friends, let us turn away from everything wrong, whether of body 
or spirit, and purify ourselves, living in the wholesome fear of 
God, giving ourselves to him alone. 


CLEANSE OURSELVES. Men are unable to cleanse themselves, for 
there is no power inherent in man to put away sin (Rom. 7:22-24). The 
believer can be made holy only by letting God work in and through him 
(Phil. 2:12, 13; cf. 1 Peter 1:22). The Christian must make use of 
God's appointed means for cleansing. God awakens the will in order 
that men may use it. The armor of Christ is available for all 
Christians, but theirs is the responsibility for putting it on (Eph. 6:10, 
11). God's power and grace are ineffective in one who has an 
altogether passive mind and will. God is with the one who fights "the good 
fight of faith," and will bring him victory (1 Tim. 6:12; see on Rom. 
8:37). [SDA Bible Commentary] 

FILTHINESS. Or, "pollution," "contamination," "defilement." As 
this admonition applies to the flesh, it refers to all those kinds of 
sin that require the various avenues of the flesh for their 
commission. As it applies to the spirit, it refers to sins of the mind, such 
as evil thinking, pride, and ambition. See on Mark 7:15, 23; 2 Cor. 
10:4, 5. [SDA Bible Commentary] 

HOLINESS. Sanctification is a lifetime work, something not 
accomplished by any single act or at any point of time in this life. Two 
stages of the Christian life are indicated. The first is justification, 
or the cleansing and putting on of the new man "created in ... 
holiness" (Eph. 4:24). The second is sanctification, or the continued 
development of the new man to the point of perfection. The first, God alone 
can bring about, with man's consent, repentance, and acceptance. 
With the second, God and man cooperate together throughout the 
lifetime of the believer (Phil. 3:12-14). 
   Justification is the gateway to holiness. It includes the 
remission of sin, reconciliation, and regeneration. A man must be set 
right before he can go right. In justification the primary requirement 
of the believer is faith (Rom. 3:20, 28). This experience occurs at 
the very threshold of the Christian life, and must be repeated in 
case of backsliding. The moment a man becomes a partaker of the 
divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) and spiritual life is implanted within him 
(Rom. 6:4), he is obligated to work in active cooperation with God. 
The Christian is to cooperate with God by availing himself of the 
divine resources of grace and power--Bible study and meditation, 
personal and private prayer, private and public worship, and spiritual 
exercise through the medium of service for others. The body is linked 
with the spirit in the work of sanctification (1 Cor. 1:8; Col. 1:28; 
1 Thess. 5:23). See on Rom. 3:28; 4:3, 8. 
   Cooperation with God in the work of sanctification requires 
unquestioned acceptance of God's standard of holiness. The original standard 
is the nature and character of God (Ex. 15:11; Isa. 6:3; Matt. 
5:48; 1 Peter 1:15; Rev. 4:8). That man may understand something of 
His holy character, God has given us His holy law, which is a 
transcript of His character (Ps. 19:7-10; Rom. 7:12) and delineates the 
kind of character He would have us develop. As the life is measured 
day by day by this divine standard, the grace and power of God 
transform the character of man to resemble His perfect character (see on 2 
Cor. 3:18). Thus the image of the Creator, lost when man sinned, is 
to be restored (Gen. 1:26, 27; 2 Cor. 3:18). The achievement of a 
Christlike character is a lifelong pursuit. Only when probation closes will 
the Christian who has conscientiously and consistently aspired to 
holiness "be holy still" (Rev. 22:11, 12). Many professed Christians come 
far short of holiness and true sanctification because they ignore or 
lightly esteem God's standard of holiness. They are satisfied with a 
mediocre and halfhearted obedience, and aspire only to the form of 
godliness, without its power (see on Matt. 7:21-27; 2 Tim. 3:5). 
   The holiness of which Paul speaks comes only through vital, 
spiritual contact with God. This contact takes place through communion 
with God and a study of His Word (John 17:17; 1 Peter 1:22), and by 
the mediation of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:26; 2 Thess. 2:13). [SDA 
Bible Commentary] 

THE FEAR OF GOD. True sanctification takes place in the life of 
the believer who is ever conscious of being in the presence of God. 
A holy reverence for God is essential to the perfection of 
holiness. A consciousness of the divine presence leads to true reverence. 
As the eye of faith beholds God there is cultivated in the soul an 
intense hatred of sin and an earnest desire for righteousness. To fear 
the Lord means to live every moment under the paternal eye of a holy 
God. The fear of the Lord is the basis of worship, obedience, and 
holy service. [SDA Bible Commentary] 


Christians are to cleanse themselves of everything that can 
defile. In 1 Corinthians, Paul used the word "defile" to describe how 
eating food sacrificed to idols made a conscience impure. Paul was 
primarily worried about the way the Corinthians were still participating 
in some of the pagan feasts. Paul explained to the Corinthians that 
participating in such feasts would be wrong and would provoke God (see 1 Cor 
10:14-22). By abstaining from these feasts, the Corinthians would begin to 
cleanse -- or more literally, "to purify" or "to prune" -- evil out of 
their lives. The Corinthians were to have nothing to do with paganism. 
They were to make a clean break with their past and give themselves 
to God alone. (Life Application Commentary Series) 

   "Work toward complete purity" literally means "perfecting 
holiness." The Greek word connotes "becoming mature" or "becoming 
complete." Thus, Paul wasn't suggesting that the Corinthians could become 
sinless in this life. Instead, he was prodding the Corinthians to work 
at maturing in their faith. God had provided them with all the 
resources they needed, and Christ's Spirit would empower them to become 
Christlike (see Rom 8:2). 
   In his letter to the Philippians, Paul categorically denied 
that he was perfect (Phil 3:12). But being imperfect was never a 
reason for Paul to become apathetic about his own spiritual walk. 
Instead, he saw his imperfection as a reason to press on, to strive 
harder to become more and more like Christ (Phil 3:13-15). Paul knew 
that only the Spirit within him could provide the power to pursue 
spiritual maturity (Rom 8:2). Believers will finally reach perfection at 
Christ's return. Until then, they are commanded to cooperate with the 
Holy Spirit, maturing them in the faith (Jude 24-25). 
   Paul exhorted the Corinthians to pursue purity out of fear of 
God. "Fear" means to keep respect or awe for God. He is the almighty 
Creator. Just as we show proper respect to presidents and sports heroes, 
we should show even greater respect to the King of kings. Genuinely 
honoring and loving God means obeying him (see John 14:15). Thus, obeying 
God's commands and pursuing spiritual maturity are the best ways to 
show respect for God (see commentary on 5:11 for more on fear as a 
   How can we become perfect? In this life, we certainly cannot 
be flawless, but we can aspire to be as much like Christ as 
possible because we have the Spirit of Christ within us. We are to 
separate ourselves from the world's sinful values. We are to be devoted 
to God's desires rather than to our own and carry his love and 
mercy into the world. We can't achieve Christlike character and holy 
living all at once, but we must grow toward maturity and wholeness. 
Just as we expect different behavior from a baby, a child, a 
teenager, and an adult, so God expects different behavior from us, 
depending on our stage of spiritual development. (Life Application 
Commentary Series) 

   Most of God's promises are claimed simply by faith. Here's a 
promise, however, that's contingent. "Touch no unclean thing" the Old 
Testament says (Isa. 52:11), and "I will be a Father to you" (2 Cor. 
   At first this seems a strange promise. After all, God is our 
Father through faith in Christ. But He is able to be a Father to us 
only as we live holy lives. 
   My wife's oldest, Matthew, lives in Michigan with his father. 
For five years he lived with us, and while he was here, I was able 
to be a father to him. I disciplined him, took him on fishing 
trips, got him to bed on time, and did all the other things that are 
part of parenting. But when he moved to Michigan, I could no longer 
be a father to him. The distance between us is just too great. 
That's what Paul is telling us here. God, who is a Father to us, wants 
to be a Father to us. But it's our responsibility to see there's no 
distance between us. 
   Usually when you and I read Paul's warning in 6:14-16 about 
being yoked together with unbelievers, we think of disasters that can 
result if we disobey. We think of the partner we can't trust; of the 
spouse whose values and commitments are so different from ours. But 
Paul wants us to consider first the impact of being unequally yoked 
in our walk with God. 
   You see, we Christians are to be completely separated unto 
the LORD, with that separation as sharp as the dividing line between 
light and darkness, between Christ and Satan, and between the temple 
of God and a shrine where idols are worshiped. In short, we are to 
"purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit." 
   Why? Because sin's contamination separates us from God. He is 
our Father even then, but when we isolate ourselves from Him by bad 
choices, He is not able to be a Father to us in the same, intimate way He 
would if we were in close fellowship with Him. 
   What a joy it is to have God be a Father to us. To walk hand 
in hand with Him. To be disciplined, yes. But then to be caught up 
in His arms and comforted as well. No wonder Paul urges us to 
purify ourselves from everything that contaminates out of reverence for 
God. There is no greater experience here on earth than to walk with 
the LORD, and have God be a Father to us. [The 365-Day Devotional 

   A Christian life should be a life of constant 
self-purifying.... If we were left to the task of self-purifying by our own efforts 
we might well fling it up as impossible.... But if we can believe 
that God gives the impulse after purity, and the vision of what 
purity is, and imparts the power of attaining it, strengthening at once 
our dim sight and stirring our feeble desires and energizing our 
crippled limbs, then we can "run with patience the race that is set 
before us." . . . 
   It is no partial cleansing with which Paul would have us to 
be satisfied, "all" filthiness is to be cast out.... Christian men 
are to regard their work as unfinished as long as the least trace of 
the unclean thing remains in their flesh or in their spirit. The 
ideal may be far from being realized at any moment, but it is at the 
peril of the whole sincerity and peacefulness of their lives if they, 
in the smallest degree, lower the perfection of their ideal in 
deference to the imperfection of their realization of it.... 
   As we get near what we ought to be, we should be more 
conscious of the things in which we are not what we ought to be. The 
nearer we get to Jesus Christ, the more will our consciences be 
enlightened to the particulars in which we are still distant from Him.... 
The saint who is nearest God will think more of his sins than the 
man who is farthest from him. So new work of purifying will open 
before us as we grow more pure, and this will last as long as life 
itself. (Alexander Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture) [Spirit 
Filled Life Devotional SB] 


2 Pet 1:4 (KJV) Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and 
precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine 
nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through 

2 Peter 1:5-7 (NKJV) But also for this very reason, giving all 
diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge 
self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to 
godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.  

1 John 3:3 (NKJV) And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies 
himself, just as He is pure.  

John 17:17 (KJV) Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is 






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