By B.G. Echols
Receiving the word of God must be accompanied or preceded by a putting away of all wickedness. “Wherefore putting away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). “Putting away” is the word used for taking off filthy clothes. Here it is used figuratively. A similar idea is found in 1 Peter. “Putting away therefore all wickedness, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, long for the spiritual milk which is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation” (2:1, 2). Also Col. 3:8, “But now do ye also put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, railing, shameful speaking out of your mouth.”
“Filthiness” refers to moral uncleanness and vulgarity. Little contact with the world is needed to know that such filthiness is extensive. Vulgarity is so common as to be a way of life. The society reeks with its stench. With vulgarity finding its way even into the education of our children, it is no surprise that some Christians are filthy in mind. When James commands us to put away “all filthiness,” he means “each instance of” or “every trace of” it. There should not be even a trace of filthiness in children of God of any age. Any impure and unholy thought or deed pollutes the soul.
If you were to become entangled with a skunk in the woods, you could not hide your encounter. The only way you could remove the odor would be to “put away” your clothing and bathe your body in strong soap. Likewise, if your mind is filled with vulgarity, it will not be hidden. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matt. 12:34). The only way you can be a sweet savor to God or man is to put away “all filthiness” and then “receive with meekness the implanted word.” One cannot please God unless He makes no provisions to fulfill the lust of the flesh (Rom. 13:14). Anything less and we shall not see God (Heb. 12:14).
Truth Magazine XXIV: 38, p. 610
September 25, 1980