Purity in the Life of the Believer

I Jn 3:1-3

1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (NKJ)

This message was preached February 3, 2002 at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at toulonbaptist.com

  1. And everyone who has this hope
    1. The hope is not a "hope-so" chance for the Christian, but a "know-so" expectation which is part of the "knowledge" we have because of the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is because of this "sure expectation" that we "purify" our lives. KJV Bible commentary Jerry Falwell
    2. But the implications here for the false teachers are: they do not purify their lives because they do not have the hope; they do not have the hope because they do not have the Holy Spirit; they do not have the Holy Spirit because they are not children of God, which is obvious because they do not live righteous lives. KJV Bible commentary Jerry Falwell
    3. Notice it says everyone.
  2. In Him
    1. It is not in heaven that we have our faith.
    2. It is not in religion as such.
    3. It is in His death on the cross for us that we believe.
    4. It is in is death, burial, and resurrection that we believe.
    5. Our hope is in Him, because by His works He made us acceptable to God.
  3. Purifies himself
    1. It is not as though anyone of us has made it or ever will in this fleshly body.
      1. Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
      2. But we press on toward the goal, the mark of our calling in Jesus Christ.
    2. Again Paul says, 2 Cor 7:1Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
    3. Peter puts it this way, 1 Peter 1:22Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
      1. Twice in this passage Peter refers to the Bible as being the means of our purity.
      2. Now I do not understand the workings of that process but I know it works.
      3. Jesus said, "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. John 17:17 (NKJ)
      4. If you neglect the word of God you cannot live like the sons of God.
      5. If you do not spend time in prayerful study of the Word of God you will never purify your life and your heart.
    4. "We shall be like Him." This means inheriting a glorified body like His body (Phil. 3:20-21) and sharing in His eternal glory (John 17:24). But the saint who really expects Christ to return will obey His Word and keep his life clean. We shall see Him "as He is," but we must also "walk as He walked" (see 2:6) and "be righteous even as He is" (3:7). Saints are expected to purify themselves, that is, keep their hearts clean (2 Cor. 7:1). Wiersbes Expository Outlines on the New Testament
  4. Just as He is pure
    1. God is holy.
    2. He sent His Son to make us holy.
    3. What John is saying is that if you are a child of God and are on your way to heaven, you will continue to purify yourself, to become more and more like Him.

Do you have a sense that you are not as pure as you should be?

Do you know that Jesus died to make you holy in God's sight?

Is your hope in Him?

Then your life is a process of purity, becoming like Him even today.



Philippians 3:12 Paul uses the analogy of a runner to describe the Christian's spiritual growth. The believer has not reached his goal of Christlikeness (cf. vv. 20, 21), but like the runner in a race, he must continue to pursue it. That this is the goal for every believer is also clear from Rom. 8:29; 2 Thess. 2:14; 1 John 3:2 John F. MacArthur, Jr. (1997). The MacArthur Study Bible.

2 Cor:7:1 these promises. The OT promises Paul quoted in 6:16-18. Scripture often encourages believers to action based on God's promises (cf. Rom. 12:1; 2 Pet. 1:3). let us cleanse ourselves. The form of this Gr. verb indicates that this is something each Christian must do in his own life. filthiness. This Gr. word, which appears only here in the NT, was used 3 times in the Greek OT to refer to religious defilement, or unholy alliances with idols, idol feasts, temple prostitutes, sacrifices, and festivals of worship. flesh and spirit. False religion panders to the human appetites, represented by both "flesh and spirit." While some believers for a time might avoid succumbing to fleshly sins associated with false religion, the Christian who exposes his mind to false teaching cannot avoid contamination by the devilish ideologies and blasphemies that assault the purity of divine truth and blaspheme God's name. See note on 6:17. perfecting holiness. The Gr. word for "perfecting" means "to finish" or "to complete" (cf. 8:6). "Holiness" refers to separation from all that would defile both the body and the mind. Complete or perfect holiness was embodied only in Christ, thus believers are to pursue Him (cf. 3:18; Lev. 20:26; Matt. 5:48; Rom. 8:29; Phil. 3:12-14; 1 John 3:2, 3). John F. MacArthur, Jr. (1997). The MacArthur Study Bible.

1 John 3:3 All who have their hope in Jesus, i.e., their hope of being like him (3:2) when he appears (2:28), will also be committed to keeping themselves from sin. They will put away every defilement; they will aim to be like him in purity and righteousness. Once more we have the pattern of the incarnate Jesus being held up as an example to believers (cf. 2:6; 3:7, 16; 4:17). Those who claim likeness to him must be conformed to his earthly life, even as they wait for his coming. To live in sin or disobedience to his commands is to abandon any hope in him. It is the pure in heart who will see God (cf. Matt 5:8). The Expositors Bible Commentary, New Testament

Urges the engagement of these sons of God to the prosecution of holiness: And every man that hath this hope in him purifies himself even as he is pure, v. 3. The sons of God know that their Lord is holy and pure; he is of purer heart and eyes than to admit any pollution or impurity to dwell with him. Those then who hope to live with him must study the utmost purity from the world, and flesh, and sin; they must grow in grace and holiness. Not only does their Lord command them to do so, but their new nature inclines them so to do; yea, their hope of heaven will dictate and constrain them so to do. They know that their high priest is holy, harmless, and undefiled. They know that their God and Father is the high and holy one, that all the society is pure and holy, that their inheritance is an inheritance of saints in light. It is a contradiction to such hope to indulge sin and impurity. And therefore, as we are sanctified by faith, we must be sanctified by hope. That we may be saved by hope we must be purified by hope. It is the hope of hypocrites, and not of the sons of God, that makes an allowance for the gratification of impure desires and lusts. Matthew Henry


This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com