Cleansing

You know what it means to be dirty.  You get dirt or grease or food on your hands or clothes and you need to wash it off.  Water is usually good to wash off most things, but sometimes you need soap or detergent or something stronger to come clean.  But what about being dirty spiritually?  Your sins are what make you dirty before God.  But praise to God, Jesus washed you in His blood.  Revelation 1:5b-6 “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”  It is wonderful to know that you are washed, sanctified and justified.  1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”  You have received a washing of regeneration.  Titus 3:3-5 “For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.  But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.”  This washing of regeneration is understood to be baptism.  You have been washed; your sins have been forgiven; you were made clean before God.

Let’s say that a mother gives her child a bath before going to bed.  But that child immediately goes out in his bare feet and walks through some mud.  The mother might be upset with the child, but she would not have to give him a complete bath again; all she needs to do is to wash his feet.  1 John 1:8-9 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  When you sin as a Christian, you should confess your sin and He is faithful and just to forgive your sin and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.  It is like having your feet washed to make you clean again.

Once you have been cleansed from your sin, you should want to stay clean.  The apostle Peter gives a very graphic description of those who have been cleansed but return to their sinful life.  2 Peter 2:22 “But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit,’ and, ‘a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.’”  The apostle Paul puts it another way.  Romans 6:1-4 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?  Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”  2 Corinthians 6:17-7:1 “Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord.  Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.’  ‘I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.’  Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 

Since your Father in heaven loves you and has promised to bless you in so many ways, you will want to cleanse yourself from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.  We are told what the works of the flesh are.  Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”  Cleanse yourself from all this filthiness of the flesh.  But you also will want to cleanse yourself from filthiness of the spirit.  These might include impure thoughts, lies, lust and covetousness.  Even if you don’t commit sins of the flesh, you can sin with you thoughts and your spirit.  Clean both the inside as well as the outside of your “cup”.  Jesus denounced the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:25-26 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.  Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.”  Clean both your thoughts as well as your actions.

Look at Paul’s admonition again.  2 Corinthians 7:1b “Beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”  Perfecting holiness implies a continual process of cleansing yourself from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.  It may be a lifetime process of separating yourself from the ways of the world and drawing closer to God. 

You have been washed from your sins in the blood of Jesus.  My encouragement to you now is to cleanse yourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.