26 June 2008

Titus 1:15 and the Gospel

A thought on a 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." (ESV)

One of the marks of the moralism or legalism or self-righteousness or self-status-establishment infecting my heart in various degrees and ways is how I often mistakenly see Christian growth as outside-in rather than inside-out. Rules are set up to avoid TV and alcohol and caffeine and yelling and arguing and certain films, and to demand certain amounts of giving and service and time spent at church and scrupulous sabbath observance and daily reading 4 chapters of Scripture (rather than however much it takes to feed on God whether it is one verse or a whole book) and daily praying for 30 minutes (rather than to enjoy and admire God whether it takes 5 minutes or an hour) and so on. In all these an object (rule) is expected to transform the subject (person), the external the internal. According to Paul's words to Titus, the subject is meant to transform how he views objects. The internal colors how we view the external. To the one who has been made pure and is being made pure and for whom such purity is the dominant chord of life, all things are pure. The point is not, fundamentally, what one views. The point is what kind of eyes are used to view it.

Certainly there is godly wisdom in avoiding certain domains of worldliness. There are certain movies I simply cannot watch. And I find most TV generally spiritually numbing. That's not the point. The point is that the moment I see abstinence from such things as what will transform, I have begun to shift the locus of spiritual change from internal to external, from divine activity to human acitvity.

Sitting down to a TV show with a big bowl of ice cream may be undertaken by a far more holy person than the one who does not own a TV and spends the evening in prayer. In an odd way, the former might even be more sanctifying. To the pure all things are pure.

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