What is the objective of the purification of the church?
The objectives are:
- that the church reach perfection here (that each church member becomes faultless in character with every impurity destroyed),
- perfect unity in the church with no discord,
- to keep the church free from false doctrine, as the references below describe.
“No unlikeness to Christ will be permitted in the holy city. The process of gaining perfection of character is to be carried on in this life, that we may be prepared for the future immortal life. It is God’s purpose that His church on earth shall reach perfection. It is essential that His directions be strictly obeyed. The members are to help and strengthen one another. No self-exaltation or accusing or harshness are to be shown in our dealings with one another. . . . We must purify our souls through love and obedience to the truth. We must act like saints toward one another,preparing ourselves, drilling ourselves, to be without fault in character, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 15, 171.
“God is leading out a people to stand in perfect unity upon the platform of eternal truth. Christ gave Himself to the world that He might ‘purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.’ This refining process is designed to purge the church from all unrighteousness and the spirit of discord and contention.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 17.
“The churches must be guarded, and warned against deception. Christ gave Himself for us, to redeem us from all iniquity, that He might purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good orks. His church must be kept free from all false doctrine.” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1083.
“The Lord is willing to help us, to strengthen and bless us; but we must pass through the refining rocess until all the impurities in our character are burned away. Every member of the church will be subjected to the furnace, not to consume, but to purify.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 485.
What hinders this work of purification that God is attempting to perform in His church?
The willingness of church members and leaders to tolerate sin in the church:
“Do not think that you show love for one another by allowing that which God condemns. Do not let sin strengthen in the church. God requires His servants to exercise faithful watchcare. But be sure to manifest Christ’s love. Go to the erring one, and pray with him. . . .God would not justify any man to place himself as dictator [over] what others must do when [he] himself needs the converting grace of Christ.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 18, 150.
What means does God use to purify His church?
- In addition to the prophetic Word in the Bible, God has given the testimonies of His Spirit to His remnant people as manifested in the messages given to Ellen White by the Holy Spirit.
- the “strait testimony,”
- trials and suffering,
- judgements. “He [Satan] seeks by all the means in his power to shake the confidence of God’s people in the voice of warning and reproof through which God designs to purify the church and prosper His cause.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 211.
“I have been shown that the Lord is reviving the living, pointed testimony, which will develop character and purify the church.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 216. (See also Testimonies, vol. 5, 222.)
“The purification of the people of God cannot be accomplished without their suffering.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 85.
“The Lord will work to purify His church. I tell you in truth, the Lord is about to turn and overturn in the institutions called by His name. Just how soon this refining process will begin, I cannot say, but it will not be long deferred.” Paulson Collection, 415.
What will happen if the “church” is not purified as God is attempting to do?
“The Lord Jesus will always have a chosen people to serve Him. When the Jewish people rejected Christ, the Prince of life, He took from them the kingdom of God and gave it unto the Gentiles. God will continue to work on this principle with every branch of His work. When a church proves unfaithful to the work of the Lord, whatever their position may be, however high and sacred their calling, the Lord can no longer work with them. Others are then chosen to bear important responsibilities. But, if these in turn do not purify their lives from every wrong action, if they do not establish pure and holy principles in all their borders, then the Lord will grievously afflict and humble them and, unless they repent, will remove them from their place and make them a reproach.” Upward Look, 131.