With the snowfalls we’ve gotten this year, my thoughts have been directed to purity. It’s interesting how fragile we consider purity to be. The cleaner we make something, the more careful we are that no one touches it–and with good reason: one speck of dirt can be the difference between sterilized and contaminated, one fingerprint can smudge a mirror, one dirty shoe can require another mopping job.
We apply that principle to moral purity, as well. Those people who are serious about maintaining their purity are careful about the things that they watch and listen to, the hobbies they take on, and the people they spend the most time with. One wrong choice can damage a life, a home, even a community.
Yet God, the only perfectly pure Being, left His sterile environment and entered into the slums of earth. He was born with livestock, grew up in a dusty carpenter’s shop, and spent nights along dirt roads, in fields, or in strangers’ homes. He was in a world of tax collectors, prostitutes, skeptics, unjust and oppressive rulers, and self-righteous religious leaders. He even faced the same temptations we face.
He willingly endured all of this–“yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
How? How can the Purest of all enter the most fully into a world of sin and remain pure?
God’s purity is an untaintable purity. He is so pure that contaminates that come near are either instantly destroyed (Exodus 19:10-24, 33:20, Psalm 5:4) or become pure themselves (Isaiah 6:5-7). When He touched lepers, He didn’t contract the disease; He made them clean (Matthew 8:1-3). When He spoke to sinners, He didn’t become sinful; He made them pure (Luke 7:47-48). Nothing can contaminate God (James 1:13), yet God can make all things clean (Ezekiel 36:22-29).
Immutably pure. Perfectly holy. Completely clean.
We are not condemned because He was condemned (Romans 8:1-3, 32).
His untaintable purity became pollution. Yet He is still sinless, now glorified at God the Father’s right hand, and He offers His cleansing touch to all who will come to Him (Colossians 1:15-18, Psalm 51:2, 7, 10; John 6:37).
His robes for mine: such anguish none can know.
Christ, God’s beloved, condemned as though His foe.
He, as though I, accursed and left alone;
I, as though He, embraced and welcomed home!
I cling to Christ, and marvel at the cost:
Jesus forsaken, God estranged from God.
Bought by such love, my life is not my own.
My praise-my all-shall be for Christ alone.
Chris Anderson, excerpt from “His Robes for Mine“