James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first indeed PURE, then PEACEABLE [or, free from worry], considerate, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial [or, free from prejudice] and sincere. Now the fruit of such righteousness is sown in peace by the ones making peace.
Pure, what is it? The Greek word used in this text is:
According to: Strongs Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries this word is:
From the same as G40; properly clean, that is, (figuratively) innocent, modest, perfect: – chaste, clean, pure.
G40 is hagios
sacred (physically pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially consecrated): – (most) holy (one, thing), saint
The same Greek word also appears in the following New Testament passages:
Phil 4:8: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (ESV)
1 Tim 5:22:Be laying hands quickly on no one, nor be sharing [or, participating] in sins of others. Be keeping yourself pure. (ALT)
1 John 3: And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (ESV)
2 Cor 7:11: For this very thing, your* being caused to sorrow according to God [fig., in a godly manner], look how much diligence it produced in you*! [And not only this] _but_ [also] defense [fig., an eagerness to defend yourselves], _but_ [also] indignation, _but_ [also] fear, _but_ [also] longing desire, _but_ [also] zeal, _but_ [also] avenging [of wrong]! In every[thing] you* demonstrated yourselves to be pure in this matter. (ALT)
A web search defining Pure has some the following meanings listed:
free of extraneous elements of any kind
saturated: (of color) being chromatically pure; not diluted with white or grey or black
(used of persons or behaviors) having no faults; sinless
in a state of sexual virginity
free of flaws or imperfections; unsullied; free of foreign material or pollutants; free of immoral behavior or qualities
Referring to a supplement that contains nothing but the ingredients stated on the label.
made completely from one substance
Unmixed with any other matter.
Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible says this:
Is first pure – That is, the first effect of it on the mind is to make it pure. The influence on the man is to make him upright, sincere, candid, holy. The word here used (hagnē) is that which would be applied to one who is innocent, or flee from crime or blame. …
The meaning here is, that the first and immediate effect of religion is not on the intellect, to make it more enlightened; or on the imagination, to make it more discursive and brilliant; or on the memory and judgment, to make them clearer and stronger; but it is to purify the heart, to make the man upright, inoffensive, and good.
The first thing which it produces is to make the man himself pure and good; then follows the train of blessings which the apostle enumerates as flowing from that. It is true that a church should be pure in doctrinal belief, but that is not the truth taught here.
The “first” of the apostle does not indicate even preference of the pure spirit to the peaceful spirit, but only the order in which they are to be exercised. There must be no attempts to reach peace by overleaping purity.
Here is an audio teaching titled: The Bible III: Living A Pure Life, it’s only 3 minutes long, so take a listen to this.
“At Bible.org, there is an article titled: Blessed are the Pure in Heart, Matthew 5:8 by Imanuel Christian. In this article he makes these points:
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). That’s it! That’s the goal of the Christian life! That’s what we are living for – that we may live our life in such a way that we see God. If we see God, that will open up the treasure trove of all the blessings, not only for eternity, but also for life here and now. And the key to open that treasure trove is a pure heart!
This is the most central and the most significant of all the beatitudes mentioned in this fifth chapter of Matthew. You cannot be poor in spirit without having a pure heart. You cannot mourn for the things that displease God without having a pure heart. You cannot be meek, you cannot hunger and thirst for righteousness, you cannot be merciful, you cannot be a peacemaker or be prepared to stand persecution for the name of Christ without having a pure heart. Actually, this is one of the most central principles of the Christian life that we see in the whole Bible. The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.
You see, from the very beginning, it has not been the matter of outward observance of some rules and regulations; it has been the attitude of the heart toward God that was in focus. In the law, Moses said, “Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer” (Deuteronomy 10:16). Samuel asked Saul:
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice and to heed is better than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22).
It is easier to follow rules and forget the matter of the heart. We are more careful to keep everything clean that is seen by others and forget about the things that only God can see. If my hands are muddy, nobody would want to shake hands with me, so I better keep them clean. If I were wearing a dirty shirt this morning, you would give more attention to my shirt and not hear what I am saying. We want to keep up appearances before man, but we forget about keeping straight before God.
That is why Jesus’ harshest and most scathing rebuke was reserved for the scribes and Pharisees, who thought themselves the purest of all people. They were extremely careful to keep their outward appearance clean before men, but they did not worry about their relationship with God. Jesus told them:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness” (Matthew 23:25-28).
“You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).
Quoting Isaiah, Jesus said,
“‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men’” (Matthew 15:8-9).
Explaining to the disciples, He said,
“Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’…” (Matthew 15:19-20).
This is the impure heart.
How do we know if someone has a pure heart? The pure heart is evidenced by the way we live. As Peter says, a person devoted to the Lord “does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God” (1 Peter 4:2).
There is also a section on How we can have a pure heart, follow the link above if you would like to read more of this article.
In The Church of God Daily Bible Study, an article titled: A Pure Heart by Wayne Blank lists these bullet points outline what a Pure Heart is:
A “pure heart” was used as an analogy for the righteous
In the Messiah’s “parable of the sower,” those with a good “heart” were like seed planted in good soil
Paul expounded on the virtues of a “pure heart” that has been purged of carnal behavior
A “pure heart” is made by obeying the Truth (see also Believers) so as to not squander the Messiah’s Sacrifice
A “pure heart” is a matter of setting the right priorities in this temporary physical life, so to make it to eternal life
Grandma Cherbear has a Valentine Message to Christians that talks about Pure Hearts written by Teresa Kindred. Some of her key points are:
A Pure Heart loves God: `Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Matthew 22:36-38
A Pure Heart knows that earthly possessions are not “true treasures”: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:20-22)
A Pure Heart thinks on pure things and speaks only words that are pure: “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man `unclean.’ Matthew 15:17-19
A Pure Heart is a confident heart: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” John 14:1-2
A Pure Heart is a giving heart, JOY (Jesus first, Others second, You third): “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
A Pure Heart doesn’t worry about what men think: “On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.” 1
A Pure Heart is a loving heart: “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” 1 Timothy 1:4-6
A Pure Heart can handle chastisement: “And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as
sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you.” Hebrews 12:4-6
A Pure Heart is filled with gratitude: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with
gratitude in your hearts to God.” 3 Colossians 3:15-17
On biblebb.com, there are Bible Study Notes from a sermon preached by Gil Rugh. Some excerpts are:
pure (hagnos) – This wisdom is undefiled and free from the corruption that characterizes ungodly wisdom. It is free from selfishness and the determination to have one’s own way. This describes both the condition of the heart and the manifestation of that condition in behavior. This is another quality of Christ produced in the heart and life of His children (cf. I John 3:3).
It’s time to take a look at the opposite of Pure:
The Free Dictionary by Farlex lists the following as possible opposites of Pure: adulterated; contaminated; corrupt.
At Answers.com some of the words listed as the opposite of chaste are: corrupt, dirty, immodest, immoral, indecent, obscene, unchaste, vulgar
I also found impure and unclean listed as opposites.
The International Bible Standards Encyclopedia shows the opposite of Spiritually Clean as: Uncleanness, Purification, and Defilement. It states that: The adjective akathartos, “unclean,” occurs 31 times, … 4 times to moral uncleanness (three by Paul and one by John the revelator). So we will look at a few of these first.
2Co 6:17 For this reason, “Come out from [the] midst of them and be separated,” says the Lord. “And stop touching [any] unclean [or, defiling] [thing; or, person],” and _I_ will receive you*. [Isaiah 52:11; Ezek 20:34,41] (ASV)
Commentary on this passage points out the contextual meaning of this scripture.
Albert Barnes states: “In Isaiah, “touch no unclean thing;” that is, they were to be pure, and to have no connection with idolatry in any of its forms. So Christians were to avoid all unholy contact with a vain and polluted world. The sense is, “Have no close connection with an idolater, or an unholy person. Be pure; and feel that you belong to a community that is under its own laws, and that is to be distinguished in moral purity from all the rest of the world.”
John Gills states: ” It has no regard to touching, tasting, and eating any sort of food, which was forbid as unclean by the ceremonial law; for the difference between meats clean and unclean was now removed; but if anything is particularly designed by the unclean thing, it seems to be idolatry, and to be a prohibition of joining with worshippers of idols in their idolatrous practices, whereby a moral pollution is contracted; since in the beginning of the former verse it is said, “what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?” though it is rather intended in general, to forbid all communion and fellowship with unclean persons and things, not to touch them, to come nigh them, or have anything to do with them.”
Eph 5:1-5 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving, For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (ESV)
Matthew Henery states: “Filthy lusts must be rooted out. These sins must be dreaded and detested. Here are not only cautions against gross acts of sin, but against what some may make light of.”… “Those who allow themselves, either in the lusts of the flesh or the love of the world, belong not to the kingdom of grace, nor shall they come to the kingdom of glory. “…”But the grace of God wrought a mighty change in the souls of many. Walk as children of light, as having knowledge and holiness. These works of darkness are unfruitful, whatever profit they may boast; for they end in the destruction of the impenitent sinner. There are many ways of abetting, or taking part in the sins of others; by commendation, counsel, consent, or concealment. And if we share with others in their sins, we must expect to share in their plagues. If we do not reprove the sins of others, we have fellowship with them. A good man will be ashamed to speak of what many wicked men are not ashamed to do. We must have not only a sight and a knowledge that sin is sin, and in some measure shameful, but see it as a breach of God’s holy law.”
2Pe 2:9-11 [the] Lord knows [how] to be rescuing [the] godly out of temptation, but to be keeping [the] unrighteous being punished for [the] day of judgment, (10) and especially the ones going after [fig., indulging] the flesh in lust of uncleanness [or, unclean desires] and despising authority. [They are] presumptuous [or, reckless], self-willed [or, stubborn], not trembling when they speak evil of glories [fig., angelic beings], (11) whereas angels, being greater in strength and power, do not bring a slanderous judgment against them before [the] Lord.
Albert Barnes states: “It is a very remarkable circumstance, that those who have denied the essential doctrines of the gospel have been so frequently licentious [Lacking restraint, or ignoring societal standards, particularly in sexual conduct; Disregard for accepted rules] in their own conduct, and have inculcated [teach and impress by frequent repetitions or admonitions] opinions which tended to licentiousness [careless wastefulness; shameless and immoral behaviour: unrestrained, by convention or morality, indulgence in sensual pleasure. Many of the forms of religious error have somehow had a connection with this vice. People who are corrupt at heart often seek to obtain the sanction of religion for their corruptions.”
So, what do you think? Does your tree bear this fruit or do you see the fruit of those seen as the opposite? Maybe you have seasons where you bear this fruit and other’s where you don’t? Maybe you see this fruit but it is just a bit too small and needs to grow more? Just remember: All things are possible through Jesus Christ. If you don’t see this fruit, look to God’s Word and He will help you begin to bear this fruit.