I was drinking 100% pure Orange Juice.
Or so it said on the carton. I usually don’t drink commercial orange juice, for I like to squeeze my own; and as I sipped from my glass that morning, I couldn’t help noticing that the juice wasn’t quite the same as the fresh-squeezed variety I am used to. Where was the pulp? The fibre? Without these, where was the maximum benefit to my health? There was also the taste. Although what I was drinking tasted good, that crisp, tart, tang that I associate with fresh-squeezed juice was missing, and without this, so was part of my pleasure in drinking it. It occurred to me then that the company who had marketed this juice had done an excellent job of safeguarding the ultimate quality in the juice they served by ensuring there was nothing in my glass that didn’t come from an orange. Despite this, however, there were some parts of the orange that never made it to my glass…
The label on the orange juice carton reminded me of a Bible text I read recently: “Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted. Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good.” (Titus 1:15-16 NLT)
It’s true that you may not see the reference to orange juice in the text, but the reference to purity–and its counterpart, corruption–is clear. But what, exactly, is Paul referring to when he speaks of “pure” and “corrupt”?
Notice the phrase: “But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving…” (vs. 15b). The word “corrupt” is listed with the word “unbelieving”, and we can understand that one of the key differences between those who are “pure” and those who are “corrupt” is belief. In order to be in the “pure” category, we need to believe. We need to put our trust in our God. Those who do not believe are considered “corrupt”.
The “corrupt”, then, are those who do not profess to be followers of Christ, right?
Not according to Paul. He continues his description of the “corrupt” by saying, “Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good.” (vs. 16)
In other words, even those who profess to know God can find themselves in the “corrupt” category. Why? Because so many do not truly believe in Salvation by Faith; and even those who do trust God for salvation often don’t subscribe to everything else Jesus’ death provides for us, things like the gift of God’s Spirit, deliverance, healing, wisdom, guidance, strength, etc.
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul expands even more upon this idea: “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God–having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” (2 Tim. 3:1-5 NIV)
Here Paul is describing the state of the world in the last days, and as we read through the first three verses, it is again easy enough to believe that Paul is speaking to the lost; but Paul goes on to describe these people as “having a form of godliness but denying its power.” (2 Tim. 3:5 NIV). The world may have a “form of godliness”, but that “form of godliness” does not have any power. Once again, Paul isn’t talking about the world at large; he’s talking about those who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ! When we profess Christ but deny the fullness of His power, we are “having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:5 NIV). This means that when we fail to put our trust in Him for everything His death accomplished for us, when we rely on our own works, when we trust our churches, our colleagues and spouses, etc., instead of relying fully on Him, then we may actually be fitting the description of those who are, “corrupt and unbelieving” (Titus 1:15 NLT), and if so, then our deeds are “…detestable, disobedient, and unfit for any good deed” (Titus 1:16 NLT)!
As I looked back at my glass of orange juice, I smiled. Something important had been removed, and not only did that significantly affect the taste, but it also significantly affected the food value as well as my drinking pleasure. In the same way, when we settle for partial Christianity, what we have might be called “100% Truth;” but it isn’t 100% of the truth, and it isn’t pleasing to God.
Let’s stop settling for partial Christianity. Let’s go for the fullness of what it means to be a follower of Christ by putting our trust solely and completely in Him. In so doing, not only will we see our spiritual health improving, but we will find the joy of following Christ!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.