2 Corinthians 7:1 can sound like a challenge to the grace message that Jesus already finished the job of salvation and sanctification on the cross. Let’s look at the verse and then unpack it a bit. The verse states: “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”

First of all it says we HAVE these promises. So, they are already ours because of who God is and what was accomplished on our behalf on the cross. Next, the word purify, can also be translated, to “pronounce clean.” And finally the word perfecting, simply means to bring to completion. What’s interesting is in 2 Corinthians 1:20 Paul writes: “For no matter how many promises God has made they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken BY us to the glory of God.” The word amen basically means, “believe or trust.” So let’s re-examine this verse in light of these insights.

I believe what Paul is trying to say is (my paraphrase), “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us pronounce ourselves clean from everything that contaminates body and spirit, as holiness is completed by believing that God has already made us clean.” Remember John 15:2 says, “You are already clean, because of the word I have spoken to you.” Jesus has pronounced us clean, but if we refuse to believe it based on our past or a perceived lack in our current state, we will feel like it’s up to us to clean ourselves up. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus cleaned you up, and the offense of the gospel is now we manifest the power to walk out in holiness by believing we ARE already holy, not by dutifully obeying commandments in our own power.

If this is a challenge to your thinking and understanding I would encourage you to read Galatians 3:1-5 to see what the bewitchment of the Galatians was all about. I hope you are encouraged and strengthened by the fact that it is God who makes us holy, not us. Rest and reflect on that, and watch things begin to change internally and ultimately externally.

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