Pure compared to Clean
1 Peter 1:22 Being in a state of purifying your soul by the obedience of the truth through
[the] Spirit into un-hypocritical brotherly love out from a clean heart, you all fervently love one another [of the same kind].
Pure – ἁγνός; ἁγνίζω
Purification is the removal of that which contaminates1. In the life of a Christian purification (an action done in the past with abiding results) is done by obedience to the truth through the Holy Spirit2. Pure is used for a person who is seen as not being defiled in certain types of actions3. The heart is involved with purification and it is necessary to be purified before drawing near to God4. Since Christ is pure – separated from anything that would defile Him, the Christian should also seek the same5 and give consideration to that which is pure6. Pure is also used of the condition in which something exists7, which will effect one’s conduct8. A good example of what is pure is the wisdom from God9.
Clean- καθαρός; καθαρίζω
Cleaning is the removal of filth or dirt10. It is used to describe the condition of a heart11 , the cloth used for burial12 , and the clothing of a person who has received full redemption13. Cleaning for a Christian comes from the Word of God14 and is God’s work15. Once a Christian is clean, they do not need to be cleaned in this sense again, although the washing of the feet may occur to remove any filth – symbolic for sin in a saint’s life after being cleansed16. One’s actions can make them unclean by doing something they consider to be a violation of what God’s expectations are for them17. As saints we are to cleanse ourselves from all the defilement of the flesh18. Love comes out from a clean heart19. Clean also involved one’s action and conscience20 , being clean from the blood of others, and having a clean conscience before God21. It is also used to describe gold, crystal (or glass), and the water of a river22. Cleaning is the method by which leprosy was removed23 and involves faith24. The blood of Christ is able to cleanse the conscience from dead works25. Without the shedding of blood there is no cleaning from sin26. As a saint today walk in the light – apart from the works of the flesh – the blood of Christ continues to cleanse them from all sin27.
Comparing purification with cleanliness
In comparing pure and clean we see that purification is used to remove something that causes contamination, were as cleansing is involved in cleaning something that was contaminated. For a Christian, cleaning involved the removal of sins, which requires the saint to agree with God that the action is sin28, and the cleansing is an action done by God to the saint. Purification is a result of obedience to God and therefore involves abstaining from actions, people, and things that will defile a person before God. The effects of first obeying God’s word puts the saint in a state of having been purified. When it comes to purification in present time, it is involved in removing anything that defiles and is done before drawing near to God29.
1. John 11:55; Acts 21:24,26; 24:18; 1 Timothy 5:22 – keeping yourself pure from another’s sin by being caution about who you associate with
2. 1 Peter 1:22 Being in a state of purifying your soul by the obedience of the truth through [the] Spirit into un-hypocritical brotherly love out from a clean heart, you all fervently love one another [of the same kind]
3. 2 Corinthians 7:11 for look, with discernment, this same thing, you to suffer according to God, how great it has worked out in you diligence? But vindication, but indignation, but fear, but longing, but zeal, but vengeance, in all you yourself stand, pure to be in all matters.
4. James 4:8
5. 1 John 3:3
6. Philippians 4:8
7. 2 Corinthians 11:2; Titus 2:5
8. 1 Peter 3:2
9. James 3:17
10. Matthew 23:25,26; Luke 11:39
11. Matthew 5:8
12. Matthew 27:59
13. Revelation 15:6; 19:8
14. John 15:3
15. Ephesians 5:26; Titus 2:14
16. John 13:10
17. Luke 4:11; Romans 14:20; Titus 1:15; James 1:27; Acts 10:15; 11:9 – God now calls all meat clean for consumption
18. 2 Corinthians 7:1
19. 1 Timothy 1:5
20. 1 Timothy 3:9; 2 Timothy 1:3
21. Acts 18:6; 20:26
22. Revelation 21:18; 21:21; 22:1; Hebrews 10:22
23. Matthew 8:2, 3; 10:8; 11:5
24. Acts 15:9 – this is referring to initial salvation
25. Hebrews 9:14
26. Hebrews 9:22, 23
27. 1 John 1:7
28. 1 John 1:9
29. James 4:8