To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. (Titus 1:15)
This morning’s verse requires a context.
The issue at hand is false teachers in the churches of Crete who are attempting to bind people with unnecessary Jewish traditions. The traditions are not sinful, but when they are required they diminish the importance of the cross. Righteous acts cannot save. Only the blood of Jesus can wash away sin.
Paul’s use of the words “pure” and “corrupted” are his way of contrasting those who live by grace with those who attempt to justify themselves with righteous works.
We must be careful not to take this morning’s verse in the wrong way. Paul is not saying, “As long as you think something is good, then it is.” This is not a proof-text for the erroneous “that’s truth to me” philosophy that is so prevalent in our culture. Instead, this is a lesson on one’s attitude about the nature of salvation.
Let me put things a little differently. In fact, let me wake you up a little this morning…
Sexual intimacy is one of purest expressions of love between a husband and wife. Yet, it does not define their relationship. The relationship of a husband and wife is defined by deep devotion and a longing to live as one. Sexual intimacy brings joy to a relationship between a husband and wife, but it does not produce devotion. Rather, true devotion produces its own intimacy of which sex is a part. This is why sex outside of marriage disappoints people when infatuation (that’s right…not love, by definition) wanes and they discover their relationship is hollow.
Are you awake yet?
On the other hand, the same sexual act that brings such joy in a marriage can also be used to degrade and destroy. It can be the product of a vile, corrupt mind, and reduce people to animals. This is the nature of our cultures’ sex trade, and the spirit that reduces love to a physiological behavior.
Now back to the issue of grace and legalism. When we live in the grace of Jesus, the good things we do are a joyous expression of our love for Him. As soon as we begin doing righteous acts to find acceptance by God or by others, and try to survive outside of grace, our deeds become burdensome and corrupted. We also fall victim to those who want to enlist us in the “self-righteousness trade.”
So don’t let anyone turn the joy you have in Jesus into something dirty by making you think you have to earn your way into His heart. If that were the case every one of us would still be bankrupt.
Dear God, help me have a pure religion. In Jesus’ name, Amen.