How Do We Purify Our Hearts?

Referring to the first conversion of Gentiles, Peter said in Acts 15:9 that God “put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” So sinners’ hearts are purified by faith. And I Pet 1:22 tells its readers “ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth.” So sinners’ hearts are purified by obedience. To most then it is obvious from such passages that we purify our hearts by faith and obedience, not one or the other. But some see a conflict and say we are purified by faith only, thereby ignoring clear verses like I Pet 1:22.

Instead of arraying the two verses against one another, why not just believe both are true? Let me illustrate how they are easily harmonized …

Suppose I went fishing and caught a big bass using a cane pole, 10 pound test line, and a live worm for bait. If somebody asked me how I caught that bass, could I not truthfully say that I caught it with a cane pole – if that is what I thought they were getting at? Would me saying that mean I didn’t use line or bait? Or if it was a big fish, and I thought the query was more about the strength of my line, I might respond to the same question by saying I used 10 lb. test to catch the fish. That wouldn’t rule out the fact that I also used a pole and bait, would it? A third way I might accurately answer the question about how I caught the bass is by saying I used a live worm. That response would also be correct, without conflicting with my previous two answers.

Do you see then how that when the Bible says we purify our hearts by faith and we purify our hearts by obedience, it means just that – we purify our hearts by faith and obedience? There is no good reason to look for a more complicated answer than the obvious. Faith and obedience are not mutually exclusive; instead, they work together like fishing rod, line, and bait.

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