Defiling contaminants ∙
To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. – Titus 1:15
12 “If one of you is carrying some meat from a holy sacrifice in his robes and his robe happens to brush against some bread or stew, wine or olive oil, or any other kind of food, will it also become holy?” The priests replied, “No.”
13 Then Haggai asked, “If someone becomes ceremonially unclean by touching a dead person and then touches any of these foods, will the food be defiled?” And the priests answered, “Yes.”
14 Then Haggai responded, “That is how it is with this people and this nation, says the LORD. Everything they do and everything they offer is defiled by their sin.”
What is an impurity? A substance or thing which lowers the quality of something, sullying or tainting it, is an impurity. Impurities tend to contaminate or pollute in the physical world. Many substances or materials are marred by undesirable or unexpected foreign matter. Some obvious examples are dross in precious metals, ash or debris in iron, and bark or leaf in paper.
Impurities are either naturally occurring or added during the manufacture of a commercial product. Impurities can be harmful when they impede the intended purpose of the substance or have unintended consequences.
In September 2019, the FDA announced that impurities existed in Zantac a popular heartburn medication. In large quantities, this impurity, NDMA, can cause cancer.
What is the effect of spiritual or emotional impurity?
Spiritual and emotional impurity contaminates and pollutes as well. The Scriptures may refer to such spiritual pollutants as an impure heart or a seared or defiled conscience (1 Timothy 4:2, Titus 1:15). Impurity left unchecked is destructive. Inner corruption degrades both moral and intellectual processes.
It is a harsh reality that impurity can be transferred or imparted from one object or substance to another, while purity cannot be imparted or transferred. It is a one-way street. People who are sick can make other people sick via contact. But people who are well and healthy cannot transfer their vitality to others. The minor prophet Haggai carries this over into the spiritual world. Unholiness is infectious, but holiness is not.
How is this dilemma resolved? That which is unholy can only be made holy through the declaration or activity of the Father and the Son.
Isaiah 1:18 Come, let’s consider your options,” says the LORD. “Though your sins have stained you like the color red, you can become white like snow; though they are as easy to see as the color scarlet, you can become white like wool.
12 He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.
13 The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
14 For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.
REFLECT & PRAY
At best, we are fallen creatures living in a fallen world.
Father thank You for removing my defilement in making my sin white as snow.
The human mind is a very powerful instrument. Among its functions is the ability to think straight and enable people to make good, intelligent, and wise decisions. Impurity impacts the mind and understanding of an individual. When the mind is skewed, thinking becomes misaligned as well. Minds become closed, dark, and wander far from the Father.
Consider a giant buzz saw in a lumber mill. Its function is simple. Large tree trunks are cut to make planks. The planks come out even and straight when the saw is properly aligned. But what happens when the saw is misaligned? The planks that are produced will be unfit for their intended purpose. The buzz saw is still powerful, but the outcome is wonky. So it is with human thinking.
21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused.
22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.
23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.
But there is another form of inner impurity which perhaps is even more insidious. It is the impurity of the heart. Impure hearts defile and spread impurity. They are spiritually carcinogenic. Cancer often begins secretly, grows, and spreads quickly, until in the end it overwhelms and the host dies. The Lord Jesus Christ was clear, crystal clear regarding this.
15 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Explain to us the parable that says people aren’t defiled by what they eat.”
16 “Don’t you understand yet?” Jesus asked.
17 “Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then is expelled.”
18 “But the words you speak come from the heart – that’s what defiles you.”
19 “For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.”
Our fallen world is polluted physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Sin and wickedness have always been present. In the past, in most situations, people had to go looking for it. But now it is delivered at the touch of a button to a smartphone or computer. Although we have been forgiven and cleansed, we are still fallen creatures. We are subject to the wiles and schemes of the enemy of our souls. How do we stand firm and resist?
The first line of defense is immersion in “sound doctrine,” wholesome and correct teaching. The lies of the enemy are countered by the Father’s truth. How much of the Father’s truth do you take in and digest every day? Compare that to the bombardment you receive from the enemy’s lies on seemingly many fronts. Can there be any doubt that the Truth of the Word of God is under assault? Has it become a matter of concern for you to protect those that you love and cherish?
But there is more. We cannot stand idly by. At a minimum, we can be selective and make wise informed choices. We can stop watching and listening to spiritual and moral pollution. Some of us may be directly called to enter the fray and go on the offensive. Sometimes a sharp rebuke is required.
It’s no fun to “rebuke” someone “sharply” – at least, it shouldn’t be; the apostle Paul often did it “with tears” (Philippians 3:18) – but sometimes it’s necessary. When it becomes necessary, it’s the most loving thing you can do (Stanley).
Matthew 10:16 Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.
Be wise and gentle! But be strong, determined, and resilient.