Don’t you love clean?

Not cleaning, but the state of being clean. A cool shower to wash away the sweat of a hot day feels so refreshing. Simple pleasure comes from pulling on a freshly laundered sweater, climbing into clean sheets at bedtime, or smelling a baby after his bath.

Yet, external freshness cannot compare to the incredible joy of experiencing God’s cleansing in our hearts, minds, and bodies.

Through the prophet Ezekiel, God promised a day when he would completely purify us. “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezekiel 36:25–27).

Consider the ways sin has soiled us and God promises to wash us.

A Clean body

More than the grime of physical labour, our bodies bear the filth of sin. We violate our bodies — the temple of the living God — through sexual immorality. Even when others perpetrate the offence, we carry a stain of shame that soap can’t remove. Only Jesus can erase the guilt and the shame that pollute our bodies. God put the condemnation of and punishment for sin on the shoulders of Jesus. Long before Jesus, God assured his people that he would send a Redeemer to cleanse them. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18). And he freed us from all shame by purifying us and declaring us holy.

A Clean mind

Anything we value more highly than God becomes an idol to us. Idols, evil thoughts, and wrong attitudes contaminate our minds. Often, we feel trapped by accusing words and vile images that cycle through our minds. We cannot change our thoughts, but God can and does. “He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). The Holy Spirit washes us: body, mind, heart and soul.

A Clean heart

When the Pharisees asked why Jesus’ disciples didn’t follow the rules of ceremonial washing, Jesus explained that uncleanness comes from within. “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come — sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person” (Mark 7:20-23).

Sin originates in our hearts. Rather than an external force that presses in on us, the natural inclination to sin lives inside us. Acknowledging this truth before God, as well as confessing specific offenses, invites him to purify us. Then we can pray as King David did, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).

Over and over the Bible describes how to receive cleansing from God through the saving power of Jesus’ death and resurrection. “[L]et us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:22).

You don’t have to wait.

Come to Jesus right now. In a spirit of humility and repentance, you can pray the following prayer recorded in the Psalms. King David prayed these words after Nathan confronted him regarding his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband. “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:2,7).

Cleansing — forgiveness and deliverance from shame — awaits all who come to Jesus in repentance and faith.

Photo Credit: Zé Zorzan