Today is the first post in a series called Soul Purification. The purpose is to highlight certain sins that the Holy Spirit tells us to cleanse ourselves from. If applicable, repent of the sinful behavior and purpose in your heart to forsake it by the power of the Holy Spirit. Don’t get bogged down in self introspection. This is the sanctification component of our daily walk and nothing new. Keep your eyes on the Lord and REJOICE in becoming more Christ like.
Our scriptural basis for this is in I John 3: 2-3 where the Holy Spirit through Apostle John says:
“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.
And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (NASB)
“Him” in the scripture being the Lord Jesus and “when He appears” is when He comes for the Church at the Rapture and the Judgement Seat of Christ takes place. We do the purifying.
Why is this important? The scripture (verses 4-8) goes on to say
“Everyone who habitually commits sin, also habitually commits lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. And you know absolutely that that One was manifested in order that He might take away our sins; and sin in Him does not exist. Everyone who in Him is constantly abiding is not habitually sinning. Everyone who is constantly sinning has not with discernment seen Him, nor has he known Him, with the result that that condition is true of him at present. Little born-ones, stop allowing anyone to be leading you astray. The one who habitually does righteousness is righteous, just as that One is righteous. The one who is habitually committing sin is out of the devil as a source, because from the beginning the devil has been sinning. For this purpose there was manifested the Son of God, in order that He might bring to naught the works of the devil.” (Wuest Expanded Translation)
And verse 10 wraps up the discussion by saying:
“In this is apparent who are the born-ones of God and the born-ones of the devil. Everyone who is not habitually doing righteousness is not of God, also the one who is not habitually loving his brother [Christian] with a divine and self-sacrificial love.”
In other words, born again believers are not to walk in habitual sin, governed by our indwelling sinful nature which we were freed from when we where spiritually baptized into Christ’s death, burial and resurrection by the Holy Spirit.
Some may say, “This sounds like salvation by works.” Let me assure you it is not. The Lord, in John 3 said unless you are born again, you can not “see” or “enter” the Kingdom of God. It is the born again process that frees you from the power of the indwelling sinful nature, gives you a new godly nature, and brings the Holy Spirit into your person and He supplies the desire and power to do God’s will. The Apostle Paul explains all of this in Romans chapter 6 through 8. You can not walk habitually in righteousness unless you are born again or, as we say, saved.
If you have any questions about this, please contact me via this site or give me a call.
So let’s get started with our first sin:
“Wherefore, having put away once for all every wickedness and every craftiness, and hypocrisies and envies, and all slanderings, as newborn infants do, intensely yearn for the unadulterated spiritual milk in order that by it you may be nourished and make progress in [your] salvation…” (I Peter 2: 1-2) (Wuest Expanded Translation)
Here Wuest uses the word “wickedness” and in the New American Standard Bible (NASB) the word “malice” is used. Vines Greek Dictionary says the Greek word means “badness in quality” and is the opposite of excellence. In the New Testament it is translated “malice”, “maliciousness”, and “wickedness”.
In the English dictionary malice means ” the desire or intention to do evil, ill will”. Synonyms would be “revenge, rancor (i.e. Bitterness or resentfulness, esp. when long standing), spite, cattiness (i.e. deliberately hurtful in one’s remarks, spiteful), vindictiveness, vengefulness, malignant (i.e. very evil)”, animus (i.e. a strong feeling of dislike or hatred), enmity (i.e. a very deep unfriendly feeling).”
The source of this, like other sins, is man’s heart:
“And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness….”
The heart of man is defined in Vines Greek Dictionary:
“By easy transition the word came to stand for man’s entire mental and moral activity, both the rational and the emotional elements. In other words, the heart is used figuratively for the hidden springs of the personal life. The Bible describes human depravity as in the ‘heart’ because sin is a principle which has its seat in the center of man’s inward life, and then “defiles’ the whole circuit of his actions,… On the other hand, Scripture regards the heart as the sphere of Divine influence. The heart, as lying deep within, contains the hidden man, the real man. It represents the true character but conceals it.
That is why Scripture says that if you want to really know what is in a person, listen to what is coming out of his mouth for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
In the Old Testament, there are several words that are translated “wickedness” but we will only say the following:
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia defines wickedness as follows:
“The state of being wicked; a mental disregard for justice, righteousness, truth, honor, virtue, evil in thought and life; depravity; sinfulness; criminality.” “Pride and vanity lead to it.”
Few examples of “wickedness” (malice) would be as follows: 1. The desire to hurt someone, either with words or physically . 2. Desire for revenge because someone did something to you or said something about you. 3. Expressing ill will toward someone: “I hope he ends up in hell.” 4. Thinking or expressing hate to someone: “I hate your guts and always will.” 5. Of course, we can lump adultry, fornication, homosexuality, and other sins into this 6. Any desire to do evil or what is contrary to God’s Word.
In closing, habitual sin is progressive. Stay trapped in it long enough and you will call good, evil and evil, good and light, darkness and darkness, light. As we go on in habitual sin our minds become more and more deceived. Remember, that pride and vanity lead to wickedness. Humility is the opposite of pride and brings the essential grace of God.
It is God’s will that you and I not walk in wickedness and repenting of any wickedness He reveals to us is the first step to overcoming this sin. Listen to what He showed Paul so he could escape the clutchs of the old sinful nature and Paul share it with the church in Rome in Romans 6:11-14:
“Thus also be constantly counting upon the fact that on the one hand, you are dead ones with respect to the sinful nature , and on the other, that you are living ones with respect to God in Christ Jesus. Stop therefore allowing the sinful nature to reign as king in your mortal body with a view to obeying it (the body) in its passionate cravings. Moreover, stop putting your members at the disposal of the sinful nature as weapons of unrighteousness, but by a once for all act and at once, put yourselves at the disposal of God as those who are actively alive out from among the dead, and your members as weapons of righteousness at the disposal of God, for (then) the sinful nature will not exercise lordship over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”
As we do what these verses say and excersise our free will to say NO to sin, the Holy Spirit’s power will give us the victory over the temptation to sin.
May God bless you as you purpose to get wickedness out of your life and please the Lord. Be encouraged and strengthen your heart with these precious promises from the Word of God. May He perfect us in love (agape) for others; especially our brothers and sisters in Christ. See I John 4: 11-12.
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” (I Thessalonians 5: 23-24)
“Let everyone who names the name of the Lord abstain from wickedness” (II Timothy 2:19)
One thought on “Soul Purification: Malice”
Thanks for the reminder that pride and vanity lead to this sin. We often overlook what we call these “small sins” and are content to say that we are not committing the “big” ones. We should always be on guard.