“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
II Corinthians 7:1
Our Scripture deals with the subject of holiness, a topic that seems to be overlooked by much of this generation of professing believers, but it is certainly emphasized in the Word of God. The previous chapter introduces the larger context and admonishes us to “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers” and then to “come out from among them, and be ye separate” (II Corinthians 6:14, 17). God’s people are called to be a separated people. This context is all devoted to the matter of personal holiness.
Our text begins with the words, “Having therefore these promises.” The promises that Paul is referring to are also found in II Corinthians 6 and speak of God’s receiving us, His being our Father, and our being His sons and daughters. What precious words these are! God promises a special relationship with those who follow His instruction concerning holiness and Biblical separation. There is a nearness of fellowship experienced by Christians who are willing to separate from those things and those persons that He commands us to distance ourselves from.
God’s promise should provide the incentive we need to remove things from our lives that displease Him and cleave to the things He approves of. We are called upon to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.” The life of the sincere Christian is a continual purging and purifying. The phrase “cleanse ourselves” makes it clear that it is our responsibility to take the initiative in the matter of separation.
The ultimate goal is holiness. “Perfecting holiness in the fear of God” is the language used. Perfecting means “to further complete.” Holiness is a process that should continue throughout our entire lives. We will never be perfectly holy until we get to Heaven. In the meantime, we are to be separating ourselves more from the things that are not God’s best, and increasingly separating ourselves unto the Lord. We are to be a peculiar people. We are God’s own children. He is our Father. This world is not our home. His goal for our lives is to make us more like our Savior, Jesus Christ, and less like our unconverted selves. It is our privilege and responsibility to cooperate with Him in this process.