Purging is a concept that appears several times throughout the Bible, especially in the Old Testament. But what exactly does it mean? Let’s take a comprehensive look at the biblical meaning of purging.
In the Bible, the concept of purging refers to the act of cleansing, removing impurity, or refining something to improve its condition. It is often used in reference to purifying metals like silver and gold to remove impurities and imperfections.
The need for purging stems from the fact that sin entered the world through the disobedience of Adam and Eve. This introduced spiritual impurity and corruption into God’s originally perfect creation. Therefore, purging takes on great theological significance in Scripture as it relates to God’s plan of salvation and restoration.
Throughout the Bible, purging is associated with the refining fire of God’s judgment and the cleansing blood of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. It involves both punishment for sin and the removal of sinfulness itself. Purging restores holiness and makes way for sanctification, the process of being made holy and set apart for God’s purposes.
For believers in Christ, purging takes place internally through the conviction and cleansing of the Holy Spirit. As you walk with God daily, yielding your life to Him, He will refine and purge you of everything that stands in the way of your spiritual growth and ministry. This is for your benefit, so that you can shine brighter for His Kingdom!
- Purging in the Bible refers to cleansing from impurity and removing sinfulness.
- It is often depicted as refinement through fiery trials or the cleansing blood of Christ.
- God’s judgment brings purging punishment for sin, but also purification from sin.
- For believers, the Holy Spirit purges internally, convicting and washing away sins that hinder our relationship with God.
- Purging restores holiness and makes way for sanctification – being set apart for God’s purposes.
- Yielding to God allows Him to refine and purge you for your benefit and spiritual growth.
Now let’s explore purging throughout Scripture and gain a deeper understanding of this important biblical theme.
Purging as Judgment in the Old Testament
The concept of purging appears frequently in the Old Testament, often in the context of God’s judgment on the wicked and His chosen people Israel. The prophets warn of God’s fiery judgment that will purge the land of evil:
“Now I will shortly pour out My fury on you and spend My anger against you; judge you according to your ways, and bring on you all your abominations.” (Ezekiel 7:8 NKJV)
God punishes sin, but also uses difficult trials to purge His people and refine them like metal:
“Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” (Isaiah 48:10 NKJV)
His judgment results in purification, as the prophet Zephaniah records:
“Therefore wait for Me,” says the Lord, “Until the day I rise up for plunder; My determination is to gather the nations to My assembly of kingdoms, to pour on them My indignation, all My fierce anger; all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of My jealousy.” (Zephaniah 3:8 NKJV)
These verses reveal that while God’s judgment brings punishment, its purpose is also to purge evil and sin from the world. His determined plan is to purify all nations, removing everything that taints His holiness.
Purging Sin Through Sacrifice and Blood
According to the Old Testament Law, purging of sin was accomplished through blood sacrifice. The blood offerings provided atonement and cleansing before God.
Moses records God’s instructions for the annual Day of Atonement, when sacrifice and blood would purge sins:
“For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord.” (Leviticus 16:30 NKJV)
The blood of rams and goats served this purpose temporarily, but the prophet Isaiah spoke of one whose blood would purge completely:
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5 NKJV)
These verses point forward to Jesus, the perfect sacrifice whose shed blood provides true purgation of sin before God. His blood makes possible what animal blood could only foreshadow.
Purging and Cleansing the Heart Through the Gospel
In the New Testament, spiritual purging comes through believing in Christ and receiving His salvation by faith.
Peter proclaimed this at the Jerusalem council, that God purifies hearts through faith:
“So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” (Acts 15:8-9 NKJV)
The writer of Hebrews also connects purging of the conscience to the sacrifice of Christ:
“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14 NKJV)
As you put your faith in Jesus and what He accomplished on the cross, God purges your heart and conscience from the stain of sin and death.
Purging Through the Refining Work of the Holy Spirit
While Christ’s blood provides judicial cleansing before God, the Holy Spirit works internally to purge Christians of unrighteous attitudes, behaviors and idolatrous passions.
Paul writes that God disciplines and purges His children to share His holiness:
“For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:10-11 NKJV)
As you yield to the Spirit’s work in your life, He will identify and purge away everything that distracts you from single-minded devotion to Christ.
Paul also connects purging to sanctification:
“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1 NKJV)
Through conviction, testing and discipline, the Spirit purges you from fleshly sins and unholy desires that war against your mind. As you surrender these to God, you receive greater spiritual freedom to walk in holiness.
Purging Takes Place Through God’s Word
In addition to the inner working of the Spirit, God’s word serves a vital role in purging and cleansing our hearts.
Jesus tells His disciples they are cleansed through His word:
“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” (John 15:3 NKJV)
As you meditate on God’s word, it cuts through lies and unmasks sinful motives and thoughts in your heart. The more you saturate your mind with truth, the more God’s word cleanses wrong thinking and purges you of sinful patterns.
The psalmist connects God’s word to purification:
“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.” (Psalms 119:9 NKJV)
Directing your life according to God’s commands keeps you on the path of purity. Hiding scripture in your heart provides a shield against sin when temptations arise.
As the refining fire and cleansing agent, God’s word plays a vital role in purging as you meditate on it daily.
Yielding to the Purging Process Produces Holiness
While cleansing of sin happens decisively at salvation, purging of the lingering effects of sin in our hearts and lives occurs progressively through the Spirit’s refining work. This requires yieldness and cooperation.
The writer of Hebrews encourages endurance in this purging process to reap a harvest of righteousness:
“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11 NKJV)
God isn’t out to make you miserable – His purging and discipline produce righteousness, peace and joy as you yield to His work!
James exhorts believers to humbly receive God’s cleansing word implanted in their hearts:
“Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:21 NKJV)
Submitting to the Holy Spirit’s inner work to purge unChristlike attitudes and behaviors allows more room for the fruit of the Spirit to grow.
The more you yield, the more God will refine and cleanse you to reflect His purity and holiness. As His vessel, you will become fit for every good work He has prepared for you!
God Longs to Purge and Restore His People
While purification stings in the moment, God’s desire is always restoration. He longs to be reconciled with you, His beloved child.
Malachi prophecies of Jesus coming suddenly to His temple to purify the sons of Levi, the priestly line:
“He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness.” (Malachi 3:3 NKJV)
Through His refining fire, Jesus will purify the priesthood that they may worthily minister before the Lord and others.
The purpose of purging is not pain for its own sake, but to remove all obstacles between you and your Heavenly Father. God promises:
“I will turn My hand against you, and thoroughly purge away your dross, and take away all your alloy.” (Isaiah 1:25 NKJV)
As the master Craftsman, God prunes away everything superfluous in your life, purging the worthless and sinful dross to reveal His shining image in you!
What an incredible Savior we serve, that in His love He bore the judgment for sin, to purify and cleanse all who believe!
As you walk with God daily, yielding your heart to Him, His word and Spirit work powerfully and gently to refine and purge you of all that would hinder your purpose in Him. He sees your eternal potential and will not relent until every spot and blemish is removed, as you shine forth the brilliant glory of Jesus Christ your Lord!
Now you have gained a more thorough biblical understanding of purging. May this overview equip you for further study and whet your appetite to experience God’s refining work in your own life. As He purges and cleanses you, yield yourself fully to becoming His holy, chosen vessel for every good work prepared for you!