Interesting how we measure things in different levels of purity. Depending on the thing being discussed, some level of impurity may not be at all harmful or blemishing. However, once you pass a certain threshold it becomes spoiled or impure.
For example, to be considered pure gold, the metal must be 24 karat. That means that only .1% can be some other substance. In China, pure gold is called “Chuk Kam” and can have up to 1% impurity.
There are at least 12 different purity standards for water. And air quality is measured in how many airborne allergens and pollutants it contains. For instance, HEPA filters must remove at least 99.97% of 0.3 micrometre in size airborne pollutants to receive that designation. So depending on the application, purity has many definitions.
I noticed that Paul was referring to several types of purity when he wrote to Timothy.
You have heard me teach many things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Teach these great truths to trustworthy people who are able to pass them on to others. – 2 Timothy 2:2
He’s telling Timothy to ensure that the truth is not messed with – teach it to trustworthy people.
And as Christ’s soldier, do not let yourself become tied up in the affairs of this life, for then you cannot satisfy the one who has enlisted you in his army. Follow the Lord’s rules for doing his work, just as an athlete either follows the rules or is disqualified and wins no prize. – 2 Timothy 2:4-5
Paul tells Timothy to focus on doing things God’s way, doing only that which he’s directed to do. He is not to cut corners or do half-hearted work.
Never forget that Jesus Christ was a man born into King David’s family and that he was raised from the dead. This is the Good News I preach – 2 Timothy 2:8
Sometimes the simplest things escape us. The purity of the message is that Jesus was born a man – like us. He died, and was resurrected. And because he was like us, and he was resurrected, we can be too. That is Paul’s good news – the good news he wants Timothy to teach.
Remind everyone of these things, and command them in God’s name to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them.
Avoid godless, foolish discussions that lead to more and more ungodliness.
Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. – 2 Timothy 2:14, 16, 23
It is so easy to get caught up in useless arguments. “What about people who never heard about Jesus?” Answer, “Um, good question. But you have heard about Jesus, so what are you going to do now that you know the truth?” These types of questions and arguments, unless avoided, mire us in unprofitable activity and dilute the purity of the message.
Pure Passion & Pure Hearted Companions
Run from anything that stimulates youthful lust. Follow anything that makes you want to do right. Pursue faith and love and peace, and enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. – 2 Timothy 2:22
There is a reason why Paul tied together fleeing youthful lusts, pursuing faith, love, and peace, with pure companions. It is because when we are in the company of like-minded others it is tremendously easier to do those very things described earlier.
The Lord’s servants must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone. They must be able to teach effectively and be patient with difficult people. They should gently teach those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will believe the truth – 2 Timothy 2:24-25
Being gentle and kind to those that are in need of Jesus is a hallmark of Christian behavior. Notice that it isn’t restricted to people we get along with. Paul instructs patience and gentleness with difficult people too.
Purity on many different fronts is the marching order from Paul to Timothy and to us. It must be attainable or he wouldn’t have wasted time putting pen to parchment.
Father, these can be pretty tall orders for some of us. I know I struggle in some of these areas. Please grant me the purity I need, in the areas I need, to be an effective servant of yours. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Pure Love. Jan