1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
The “therefore” concludes the argument running from 2 Corinthians 2:14.
having these [emphatic] promises,
The “promises” here are from the citations in 2 Corinthians 6:16-18. The upshot of those promises was that Christians are to cleanse themselves from any unholy and undue associations and separate themselves unto God. God promised that His presence would be with the church if they walked in holiness and separation unto Him.
“Beloved” is an endearing term. The Corinthian church was dear to Paul’s team.
let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh [body] and spirit,
“Let us” is the language of grace. “Do this” is the language of the law.
“Cleanse” in context means anything that contaminates either the truth or walk with God, whether in the body or spirit.
“Filthiness” is a technical term for religious defilement. The idea is to disassociate from false teaching. This idea may refer to religious prostitution, both physically and spiritually. The temple of Aphrodite was in the city of Corinth. Aphrodite was the goddess of lust, where people had sex in the name of religion. Filthiness is both a sin of the body and a sin of the disposition, of the “spirit.”
There are two spheres where a Christian deals with sin: 1) the outward man, and 2) the inner man, the body and spirit. Sins of the inner man include jealousy, hate, ill-temper, hatred, malice, pride, among other attitudinal sins. A selfish attitude or disposition will soil the soul. Thus, the Christian life involves attitudes as much as activities.
Every Christian has two kinds of cleansing, positional and practical.
The Christian is to put away anything that sullies the whiteness of his soul. This involves more than actions. The thrust of this is to correct any thoughts or desires that violate our walk with God.
There can be no progress in the Christian life without the cleansing of the soul and correction of the sin in one’s life. Cleansing always precedes spiritual growth, which we see in the next phrase, “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
Every Christian has two kinds of cleansing, positional and practical. Only God can declare the believer clean based on what Christ did on the cross and our status of being “in Christ.” Practical cleaning is something the believer must exercise. It is inward cleansing done by God’s grace. God charges every Christian to examine himself and to deal with his sin daily. The onus of confession rests on the Christian. Only God can cleanse us by the work of Christ on the cross (1 Jn 1:9).