The way something is described can be the difference between motivating a man to action or burying a man in mediocrity.
Winston Churchill knew this, and without ever wielding a physical weapon against Hitler, nonetheless became Hitler’s most effective opponent because of the power of his well-chosen words.
But sometimes the modern church takes a mighty concept and reduces it to jelly just by its inability to define a word effectively.
The word “purity” is one of those concepts.
It’s understandable if the English word “purity” is slow to motivate us. It might make us think of a lecturing, long-winded teen youth group rally back in high school, or a church lady complaining about degradations.
Even saying it—purity—can bring to mind a scolding finger being wagged at us.
It can feel like nothing more than a list of what not to do so that God doesn’t punish you.
It can sound like a weak, pathetic, defensive effort to avoid sin.
Yet the concept of “being pure” is filled with power.
A better way to think of purity might be the importance of keeping a rifle clean so it doesn’t misfire, or a sword clean so it doesn’t rust.
In the life of a Christian man, “purity” should come to mean the forging of the metal of his heart so that it has been stripped of weaknesses. Through this refining process, such a heart will not crack in the fight. Sin is not only avoided, it is actively assaulted.
An interesting Hebrew word for the notion of purity is “tehor,” which is a masculine noun signifying a physical and moral firmness where there is no weakness present.
Proverbs 22:11 contains this word:
“He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.”
To have a heart made of tehor material means that you will not flee the darkness of night nor the arrow by day.
Pursue God, and you will have a fortitude given by the Spirit of a King who rules from a white throne so terrifying to behold that even the mountains will flee from it.