Frank Maguire
Habitual purity chaste by choice
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By Frank Maguire
June 30, 2010

The concept of "purity" still exists, and the word is still in use; but it no longer finds application in matters of personal moral behavior. In fact, it would bring curious looks in our post-Christian world were you to ask someone, "Are you pure of heart and mind?" The concept has had its essential substance removed.

Even in an assembly of professed Christian believers, before one could be understood, one would have to add to the question, "Are you pure in heart and mind in the manner of Philippians 4:8?"

Philippians 4:8 instructs us that that which is excellent and praiseworthy — that which is "true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable" — is what should occupy our mind and heart.

By inference, then, all that is not excellent and praiseworthy should not be allowed to occupy our heart and mind — any thought that is antithetical to "true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable."

These attributes, though not seen as synonyms, are, in the context of Philippians 4:8, of the same essence. This is why God has made allies of them. If one fails to act and to think in concordance with any one of God's commands that we hold to thoughts that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable, then one fails at all.

Since purity is the topic, here, we should understand what purity is and what it is not. Pureness in Hebrew means to be thoroughly purged of all uncleanness. The Greek word, hagneia, equates to chastity — "free from all foreign admixture." So, every person who professes Christ and adheres to the Truth of Scripture must be aware that all that is natural to the world, the fallen condition of Man, is foreign to God. There can be no admixture of that acceptable to God and that acceptable to the sinful and impure world.

We are not born pure. We become pure by growing in righteousness by God's grace. It is a process accomplished through the practice of obedience to all that God holds to be pure and chaste. In terms understood by all, then, purity is a habit of heart and mind.

Since purity equates with personal chastity — chasteness — then the natural attitude of mind and heart known as lust absolutely precludes purity. When one is activated by lust, purity can never become a habit of mind and heart.

When I was a very young man, I was taught, in parochial school, "Avoid all occasion to sin." Later, I learned that we must physically and mentally "flee from the Devil and his works." Even as a youth, I had no difficulty understanding this; but though I understood it, I had not yet been born into the new life in Jesus Christ. Thus, I was not equipped by God's grace to eschew natural lusts.

We live in a world that has come to deny sin's existence, subsequently to deny the existence of lust. Lust has been replaced by the value that is accepting of every desire as nothing more than personal wants...sometimes euphemized as personal needs. Lust — impurity, un-chasteness — is no longer a negative condition of mind and heart, of which one should be ashamed, it is a value to be desired in pursuit of one's own self-actualization.

There is an old "Negro" spiritual that goes "Satan is a liar and a conj'rer too, 'n if you don't watch out he'll conjure you." My little poem, here, makes the same point.

    The War of the Words by Frank Maguire

    Satan, told to play his part, contrived a simple plan.
    "I know I can't deceive the Master, only distract Man.
    "I'll whisper to the arrogant, and but two words besmirch;
    "Heaven sounding, Hell redounding: 'Love' and 'Church.'"

    The Savior came, and died, and lives, and sent the Spirit back,
    So Man could find salvation's Way amidst the alien track.
    But Satan left directives at every restful grove,
    "This way," says Satan's signposts; "This way to 'church' and 'love.'"

© Frank Maguire

 

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Frank Maguire

(Frank Maguire passed away on May 19, 2021. His obituary can be read here.

Frank Maguire was born in Dorchester, MA, 1938, attended schools in Massachusetts, California, and Arizona, where he completed degrees in music and English writing/Journalism. Frank has been married to Helen Isabel Maguire Estevez of Culver City, California, since 1957. They have six children, 14 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren.

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