Paul writes to Titus these words concerning the distinction between those who are regenerate and those who are not:
“To the pure, everything is pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; in fact, both their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but the deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient and disqualified for any good work.” -Titus 1:15-16
Titus was commissioned to correct false teachers and to “rebuke them sharply.” (1:13) Apparently, a part of the false teaching that was in need of correction was the constant need for ritual cleansing from those things considered “impure.” Paul’s word here says that if the heart is impure, one finds impurity in everything. The inherit filth of the corrupt heart drives people to perceive filth in all things and attempt to perfect (according to their warped perception) themselves and everything around them in hopes of pleasing God. Moreover, they hold others to the same twisted ideals and teach them to conform their hearts to what can not please God.
It is so contrary to the Gospel.
The Good News is that if Grace has cleansed our hearts, nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 8:35-39) Which is not to say that we don’t struggle with sin or even that we shouldn’t war against it in our lives, but it is to say that contact with that which would once have made people ceremonially unclean can no longer do so.
Once covered by Grace, it is impossible to offend God by the touching of a dead thing. Once covered by Grace, it is impossible to offend God by being imperfect by anyone’s standards, including His.
Sadly, even within the body of Christ, I have often been confronted by the hearts of those who perceive impurity in everything. Everything that is not perfect in their own perceptions, and nothing ever is, is unclean and ungodly, rejected by the Lord and certain to bring condemnation and ruination. They see the spending of money this way as “wrong” or the counting of people in that way as “wrong.” They become bitter and in their bitterness, they become hurtful.
While I wouldn’t say that such a person is not a Christian (they may or may not be), I would say that their heart has surely not comprehended the fullness of the Gospel of Grace.
Grace covers the imperfections of our lives. Grace not only gets us to eternity, but Grace also gets us through the day. When we are confronted with either the willful rebellion of our hearts or the inadvertent shortcomings of a fallen mind, Grace covers all.
And when we are covered by Grace, when our hearts are satisfied in the free gift of God’s unmerited favor, it is not just easy, but it is also natural, to extend grace to others around us.
The heart that wallows in the Grace of God takes no offense in the rebellion or imperfection of those around. When the service of a waiter is slow and lethargic, Grace manifests itself in a generous tip, rather than the stinginess of heart that counts wrongs against another. When you are verbally attacked by another parent at the game because their child didn’t play the position or time they expected, Grace listens patiently and realizes that the person spewing venom is in need of something much deeper than they have.
The extension of Grace to them in that moment will likely be the rare exception in their life and will surely be the clearest picture of the Gospel that they will see that day. Month. Year? Lifetime?
To the pure, all things are pure.