Cleanse Me :: by Grant Phillips

Before indoor bathrooms, people normally bathed once a week, usually Saturday night. I guess Saturday night was chosen because they would be going to church services on Sunday, the next day.

Today, it is common, and welcomed by all, to bathe daily. In the middle ages, many only bathed once a year. Occasionally, I have stood too close to some of those folk. That’s when it’s time to make a quick exit.

I can remember, even in my lifetime, when small children were bathed in the sink and older persons would bathe in a wash tub. Yes, I can personally recall the days of the wash tub. Hush.

My Mother told me of two incidents of my Dad taking a bath. On one occasion, he was bathing in the old wash tub which was just a little too close to the pot-bellied stove. He was standing and bent over to pick up a bar of soap, but forgot about the pot-bellied stove, and let’s just say it didn’t take him long to upright himself. Another time, he was again bathing in the tub, and while he was seated I, as a young pup, decided to throw our house cat in there with him. I was too young to remember that one, but that sure would be nice to recall.

Most people today have a daily routine of bathing. For those of you who do not, soap and water are cheap, for now anyway. Use them.

We take great care in keeping our bodies clean. Some bathe in a tub, and some shower, but either way, we get the job done. We even use fragrant soaps, shampoos, and body washes. Afterwards, the ladies will spray on the perfume, and the gents will dash on the after-shave or cologne. My, my, don’t we smell nice now?

How many of us as Christians put forth the same effort in keeping our inner selves clean? Now don’t kid yourselves. We get dirty inside, just as easily as we do on the outside, probably more so.

We basically keep our bodies clean to please those around us. Let us all pause and offer a prayer of thanks for those kind people.

How do we present ourselves to God though? Do we want to please Him? When we are in His presence, do we want to be clean? We want to have a clean body when around people. Surely, we would want a clean spirit around God. How often do we ask for His cleansing of our inner self?

When I was a baby and then a small boy, my Mother washed me. At another age, my Dad would make sure I was clean. When I matured to an even older age, I washed myself, and I’ve been doing so ever since. As an adult I thank the Lord that I am still healthy and can still wash myself. Of course, I’m talking about washing my body, and keeping it clean.

When it comes to my spirit though, I can fumble around with the soap and water but I just don’t do a very good job. Even though I am an adult, I just can’t get clean from the daily grime. I cannot wash my spirit and keep it clean as I proudly do so with my body. Now, I must humble myself, and allow my Heavenly Father to keep me clean spiritually.

Just because I am a Christian, does not mean that I don’t get spiritually dirty, just as my body gets physically dirty. I can wash my body, but I can’t wash my spirit.

As a Christian I was washed completely clean by Jesus Christ when I was born again in Him. His work on the cross washed away all my sins. “All my sins” means past, present and future. To me my sins are always past, present and future, but to Him they were all present, since He is not limited by time as I am.

He saved me and adopted me into His family when I put my trust in Him. That salvation is always secure. It is eternal. That doesn’t mean I never sin though. Just ask my family or anyone else who knows me.

Sin simply means that we disobey God. Have your children ever disobeyed you? Did you ever disobey your parents? Obviously, the answer to both questions is “Yes.” Therefore, you sinned against your parents, and your children sinned against you. Are your children still your children? Are you still your parent’s children? Again, “Yes.”

My body will always be the child of my parents, even though it gets dirty and needs to be kept clean. That relationship will never change.

My spirit will always be the child of my Heavenly Father, even though it gets dirty on this sinful earth and needs to be kept clean. That relationship will never change. When the time comes for me to leave this earthly body behind, God will give me a Heavenly body that will always be clean both physically and spiritually. (John 3:3)

Yes, I am a child of God, but I am not perfect. That won’t happen until I am transported from this earth to Heaven, either by death or the Rapture.

In the meantime, even though all our sins are forgiven (past, present and future), we still sin as Christians. When we sin, we get dirty. We need to be cleansed spiritually. However, we cannot clean our self. We must be cleansed by another, spiritually, and only God qualifies. We need to ask for forgiveness, not only to make it a sweet aroma to our Lord, but to clear our own conscience.

God does not want to be in the presence of a child of His who stinks. When we sin, we stink spiritually. In other words, we are out of fellowship with our Heavenly Father. God hates sin, and so should we. Off to the wash tub we go.

He has made it possible for His children to come before Him and be washed clean from the daily spiritual dirt we have accumulated. For example, He tells us through the Apostle John:

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

We would never want to present ourselves before the head of a nation with a dirty face, stinky body and nasty clothes. Since God is God and King of kings and Lord of lords, we would even more so, want to come before Him at our best, not referring to the outward appearance but the inner man. Again, we can clean up the outward man, but only He can clean up the inner man.

God’s children, Christians, can always come to Him and be cleaned. The Good News is that anyone who is not His child can be adopted into His family, by believing in His Son Jesus Christ and be thoroughly cleansed.

Before closing, I want to make it very clear that I am not implying; “losing one’s salvation.” We cannot lose our salvation if we have truly been saved in the first place. Our salvation is guaranteed by the seal of the Holy Spirit within us. No one can remove us from His hand. The fact remains though; we still sin, and it should be less and less as we spiritually mature.

Jesus makes it clear that if we do not know His Son as Savior and Lord, we may be clean outwardly, but we are not clean inwardly. We are dead inside.

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” (Matthew 23:27-28)

To those who are His, Jesus makes it clear that even though we are saved and secure in Him, we need a daily cleansing of the inner man, not for salvation, but for constant fellowship.

Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” (John 13:10 ESV)

Jesus is pointing out our daily walk with Him when discussing the disciples’ feet. Our spiritual body (our person) has been bathed by His precious blood and we are always His, but our daily walk with Him is often interrupted by sin. Therefore, we need our feet washed, not literally, but with reference to asking forgiveness for sins that block our fellowship with Him.

Let’s say we lived in the first century. The roads were quite dusty. We take a good bath that morning and then walk to the next town to shop. By the time we arrive, we are still clean except for our feet, since sandals don’t provide much protection from the dusty roads. This is what Jesus was saying, except He was putting it in a spiritual context. They were wholly clean spiritually because they had been bathed in Christ (saved by His soon to be shed blood). They will always be clean in Christ, but walking through life their feet get dirty and need to be cleaned as needed.

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)

“Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” (Psalm 51:2)

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

So until we arrive at our home in Heaven, we still need to be bathed spiritually just as we bathe physically. This will keep our fellowship restored with our Father in Heaven. He holds us in one hand, keeping us eternally secure, and in the other hand He holds the soap, water and towel to cleanse the dust from our feet.

Grant Phillips