Have you ever wondered?
It’s one of those biblical proverbs that gets quoted a lot…but wrongly. Mostly, I have heard it quoted in terms of warning people away from having a “dirty mind”. You know, like you shouldn’t see sexual things in an otherwise innocent comment. If you do see a double entendre where one was not meant, it shows that your mind is not pure, because, “to the pure, all things are pure.”
But that’s not what Paul is saying.
Here is the full verse…
To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. Titus 1:15 (ESV)
He is talking about life as a Christian. If you are a believer, you are cleansed by the blood of Christ, and you are therefore by definition, pure. And, as Paul said elsewhere, “all things are lawful for me.” (1 Corinthians 6:12) In other words, all things are pure for you to partake in. Or, as Paul wrote to Timothy,
For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. 1 Timothy 4:1 (ESV)
The scariest part of Titus 1:15, however, is the second part (…to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure…). In his commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, Homer Kent Jr. writes, “To unbelievers, however, nothing is clean because their sinful lives, thoughts, and motives, which are at cross-purposes with God, will infect even that which is intrinsically pure. Good food will be used to gain strength tor evil deeds. Such persons are defiled in their intellectual and moral nature so that their decisions and attitudes are no longer reliable guides. Only the light of the Gospel and the regeneration of the Spirit can bring such persons into real purity.”
Here is at least one great application – there is a freedom in Christ which is not possible to those outside of Him. Though people outside of the family of God often think we are the ones who are constrained, how wrong they are. In truth, there is a world of freedom available to us, yet we should not use our freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but should serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13). Unbelievers, on the other hand, are constrained to live lives of “wrong choices” and impurity.
Their only hope is the only hope of us all – the blood of Christ, which cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).
For tomorrow, Friday, September 11: Titus 2