A discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. John 3:25
John had been baptizing people in water, which is a symbol of being washed. That raised the question, “What makes a person clean?”
This discussion arose with a Jew, who would have practiced ritual washings. If your parents brought you to be baptized when you were a baby, does that make you clean? What if you were baptized as a teenager or as an adult? Or does pursuing a ritualistic lifestyle make you clean? If so, which rituals? Does going to church make you clean? Taking communion? Going to confession? Saying your prayers? Serving the poor?
John’s answer was ‘Neither!’ Being baptized doesn’t make you pure, nor does a religious ritual, however scrupulously observed. So what makes a person clean? John says, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven” (3:27).
Purity is a gift that comes from heaven! John says, “I can’t give this gift to you, because I’m not the Christ” (3:28). You can’t give this gift to yourself either. Purity must be received.
People often think of purity as something you are born with and you lose it if you mess up. But the Bible teaches that none of us is born with purity. We are born sinners. Purity is something that we are without until we receive it!
Jesus Christ came into the world so that this gift of being washed, cleansed, and made pure should be yours. “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven” (3:27), and that includes the gift of purity.
How do you respond to the idea of purity as a gift? Why?