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God calls us to holiness…to a pure heart…and to an undivided loyalty.

James 4:8b (NLT)

Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

David asked, “Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart. Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood, and has not sworn deceitfully (Ps 24:3-4). There is a necessary tension that exists between our salvation and our surviving sin nature, and today’s passage reminds us of our need to embrace this reality.

We all have to fight the temptation to mimic the Pharisee in the Temple who felt good about himself because he “wasn’t like that sinner over there.” It’s easy to feel good about your walk with Christ when you compare it to a culture that has gone stark raving mad… but that world is no longer our benchmark. God calls us to holiness… to a pure heart… and to an undivided loyalty.

J.I. Packer once said, “A sense of defilement before God is not morbid, neurotic or unhealthy in any way. It is natural, realistic, healthy and a true perception of our condition.” Let us all endeavor to look our sin nature square in the face… to confess it to our Lord and King… to repent of it in all earnestness, knowing that it will allow us to come that much nearer to the Creator who wants us much closer than we are today.


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