The Purification of the Soul

February 14, 2014

The Purification of the Soul

            Our soul is our innermost being.  It is the real you.  It is the part of you that will live forever.  When people look at you, all they see is your outward appearance.  They can’t see your soul.  The more they get to know you, the more they know your inward nature.  When God looks at us he sees our soul.  Nothing is hid from him.

In I Peter 1:22 Peter wrote, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.”  He commends his readers for having purified their souls.  There is a close relationship between our soul, heart, and mind.  Most often the Bible talks about a clean heart and mind.  Here it is the soul that needs to be purified.

Our soul is corrupted by impurities.  Jesus said in Matthew 7:17 “A corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.” By the same token, a corrupt mind brings forth evil thoughts.  Evil thoughts result in bad behavior.  We need to be careful about how we think because it has a direct impact on the way we live

We are constantly surrounded by impurities.  Some affect the air we breathe.  Some gets into our food.  There are also some that get into our minds.  Those have a negative effect on our thinking and attitude. For that reason, we need to give attention to the purification of our souls.

Peter mentions two ways of purifying the soul.  First of all, he says it is by obedience to the truth.  If someone asks, “What is the truth?” we can answer with assurance “God’s Word is truth.” That’s what the Apostle John tells us in John 17:17. “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” God’s word, of course, is not the only truth, but we can have great success in purifying our souls if we obey the truth we find in it.  Obedience to the truth found in the Bible might make you the recipient of persecution, but it will never bring shame and disgrace upon you.  God’s word always guides us in knowing and doing that which is right and good.  We need to have a good knowledge of the Bible and be willing to obey it.  If we love the Lord we will want to obey him.  “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

Peter said also that the soul is purified by the Holy Spirit.  Romans 8:16 says that it is the Holy Spirit that bears witness with our spirit.  “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” When the Spirit speaks to us, it is our duty to listen and obey.  The Holy Spirit   often communicates with us by means of our conscience.  If we are doing something wrong he convicts us and makes us feel guilty.  If there is something that God is leading us to do, he lays it on our heart.  Again and again we think about it.  We can disobey by sins of commission and of omission.  I Thessalonians 5:19 says we can quench the Spirit.  “Quench not the Spirit.” We do that by not taking heed when the Spirit speaks to us.

It might appear as though Peter introduces another subject in I Peter 1:22 when he starts talking about “unfeigned love of the brethren.” I believe he has reference to that which will result from the purification of the soul.  We can’t love our fellow Christians as we should if we have sin in our life.  The word he used for love here is agape.  That is divine love.  It is a love without self- interest.  That means we love others with no expectation of receiving anything in return.

In the Bible, many times the heart is spoken of in almost the same way that Peter speaks of the soul here.  The heart and soul are interrelated.  Proverbs 4:23 tells us that we need to guard our heart.  “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” If we do that, at the same time we will be purifying our soul.

How is your heart?  How is your soul?  If you know that there are impurities there, you need to confess them to God.  In I John 1:9 we find the promise of forgiveness.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Don’t let your soul get dirty.

Our email address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

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