2 Corinthians 7 verse 1 – holiness?

2 Corinthians 7 verse 1:saint

” Therefore, having these promises beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

What does this verse mean? How do we perfect holiness? How do we cleanse ourselves?

Cleansing OF all filthiness

Andrew Wommack enlightens us, his excellent article on this verse ,  making the distinction that this verse is not talking about cleansing ourselves OF all filthiness but cleansing FROM all filthiness.

In other words, firstly as believers we are already made holy and cleansed of all unrighteousness by faith in Jesus.

Acts 15:9 “And put no difference between us and them, purifying (cleansing) their hearts by faith. “

1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

1 John 1:9  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Cleansing FROM all filthiness

This verse though (2 Cor 7:1), calls us to cleanse ourselves FROM all filthiness and this is a different concept. It is something we do. God can’t do it for us! If we read the preceding verses we find that the context is ungodly relationships and partnerships.

For example, if you are a member of the freemasons then you are in an unholy and ungodly partnership and you need to leave fast!

Likewise, if you are in adulterous affair – leave now!

Having promises – the motivation

Consequently, the motivation for holiness is not to attain something but is as a consequence of the holy calling we HAVE. Notice, how the call to holiness in this verse is preceded by the phrase: “having these promises beloved”.

So, what are these promises? The word ‘therefore’, gives the clue; it’s the preceding verses which are speaking about the acceptance of the Father, being the people of God and the temple of God. As God’s church we are God’s holy and special people or saints.

Sin in the church

In the previous Epistle to the Corinthians, Paul writes about serious public sin in the church that believers are committing and the church is ignoring. He tells them as a church to deal with it!

1 Corinthians 5:11 “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.”

It is important to see however, that  he is not saying that as believers we are to withdraw from the world like monks but  we are to judge and deal with sin in the church else the leaven will leaven the whole lump! (verse 6)

1 Cor 5:10 “I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.”

Apostasy in the church

Again, Paul describes this principle of holiness or separation, in a different fashion but using the same word cleanse translated purge, in 2 Timothy 2:19:

“If a man therefore purge (cleanse) himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.”

Is Paul advising Timothy to withdraw from all relationships with unbelievers? Certainly not. No, in context he is addressing a situation where serious apostasy has entered the church:  Hymenaeus and Philetus were teaching that the resurrection of the dead had already taken place. Therefore, persons teaching heresy, even if they call themselves christians, must be avoided and separated from because they are like a cancer in the body of christ.

More related articles:

True holiness

What is holiness?

What do you do when you sin?

What is the kingdom of God?

Repentance is not what you think

Awake to righteousness

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