Tag Archives: cleansing

I am Clean

Words of Grace  

 

One of the things God has not given us is the ability to forget the things we really want to forget.  There are good reasons for that, I suppose, but most of us have done some things we would love to push out of our thinking forever.  It certainly doesn’t help when other people remind us or when the evil one whispers a reminder in our ears.  But we often don’t need them.  We just remember.  And, when we remember, it hurts.

But does God want us to live every day in the shame of what we have done?  Some preachers seem to think so.  They keep Christians in control and motivate them to obedience by reminding them of what they were before they came to Christ.  Forgiveness means little if our sins are always lifted up to us by others or by ourselves.

No, God does not want us to live in shame.  He says that there is “no condemnation” for those of us who belong to Jesus.  He says that all our sins have been washed away by the blood of Christ.  He says we are clean.

One of my favorite passages is from 1 Corinthians 6, where Paul is telling the readers that they are no longer what they were.  He does not deny what they were and what they did, but he explains that they are different now—new creations, as the Lord said.

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. 1 Corinthians 6:11

“Such were some of you.”  This is not denial.  This is reality . . . but it is the whole reality.  We are not what we were because we have been washed.  We are now clean because of Jesus.  He washed all our sins away.  Today we are no longer what we were.

“But what about the sins I have done since becoming a Christian?”  Those sins are washed away by the blood as well.  In fact, those sins didn’t stick to us in the first place.  Some people don’t like this teaching.  They think our former sins are gone but not our current sins.  If that’s true, however, then Jesus has to be crucified again for us or some other way of salvation has to be determined.  If sin still separates us from God and remains on our account after we have come to Jesus, then the cross of Christ was not enough.

But the cross was enough.  The love of God is sufficient to cover all our sins: past, present and future.  We are no longer what we were and we will never again be what we were—because we have been washed and made clean.

 

I am clean.

Jesus has cleansed me.

The old has been washed away.

I am not what I was.

I am clean.

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The Twisted Message

Linked to the article in which the question of whether gay Christians can go to Heaven was another article that gave the “Scriptural” explanation of why they cannot.  I confess that this is the kind of thing that gets me riled.  It is one thing to reveal your prejudices.  It is quite another to use Scripture to support them.

The key passage this person used was from 1 Corinthians:

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”- 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

I find it fascinating that a person could read this passage and come out with a judgment against gay people.  Of course, the passage, shortened to the pertinent words, does say, “…the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God… nor men who practice homosexuality.”  So there it is, right?

There are two things that must be pointed out (which the author of the linked article apparently could not see).  First, whatever applies to gay people in this passage also applies to a lot of others.  Anyone who is sexually immoral.  Anyone who is an idolator (and how do we apply that today?)  Anyone who steals.  Anyone who wants what others have (greedy or covetous).  Anyone who drinks to excess.  Anyone who is a mischief maker (reviler—gossip, dissenter, backtalker, spreader of lies or half-truths, etc.)  Anyone who extorts money from others (perhaps by suggesting that the tithe is still binding on Christians?)  (And, while we are still in this part of the text, any young boy slave used by a wealthy Roman citizen for sexual purposes.  That word is left out of the NIV, which this person quotes, but it is in the original text.)

So, there you go.  Have you met any of these folks in church?  Well, none of them will go to Heaven, according to this interpretation.  I would guess that we could add another whole list of things that Paul forgot also.

But what about the rest of the passage?  This writer seems to completely miss the point.  “Such were some of you.”  That means that they are not that now.  They were thieves, or immoral, or homosexual, or greedy but they are no longer.  Why?  Was it because they stopped doing the things associated with these labels?  Was it because they conquered their sins and lived perfect lives?  Was it because they never again allowed their feelings to dictate their behavior?  What was it that took them from what they were to what they are?

But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

This passage is not a judgment on gay people!  It is a celebration of what Jesus has done for His people.  He has changed us.  He has taken our sins away.  He has re-created us.  He did it . . . and it had nothing to do with us changing our behavior.

It grieves me to think that this condemnation is the only message many will hear from the church.  Guilt, shame, rejection.  That is not the gospel and it is not the heart of God.  He loves us and He does for us what we could never do for ourselves.  And listen: even if we still can’t seem to change, at least not yet, He still loves us and He still brings us to Himself.

It isn’t about what you do.  It’s about what He did and continues to do.

 

Your thoughts?

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What’s Done is Done!

What I have been trying to do over the past several posts is show that our flesh, formed and supported by the old way, continues to influence our thinking.  We are supposed to resist the errors and lies the flesh presents, but they seem so familiar and others believe them.  We get confused when we try to integrate the old thinking with the new.  Law and grace do not mix.  Trusting in your performance and trusting in Jesus do not mix.  The way of the flesh must be rejected.

Understanding what Jesus has done for us and trusting in His work allow us to move past the old self-condemnation and the fear it brings.  When I look at myself and see failure or compromise, then label myself with that failure or compromise, I do not speak truth.  Even though I still do wrong things, those things do not define me.  I am no longer identified by my sin.

There is an interesting word from Jesus in response to Peter’s exclamation at the foot-washing.  You remember the story.  When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, Peter refused.  He didn’t think it was proper for Jesus to wash his feet.  But Jesus said that if He didn’t wash Peter, Peter would have no part in Him.  Of course, Peter was shocked and asked Jesus to wash more than his feet, offering his head and hands as well.  But then Jesus said,

 … “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean…”  John 13:10

This whole scene is rich with spiritual meaning.  Here Jesus tells Peter that he had to let Jesus clean him if he wanted to receive eternal life, the life of Jesus.  In other words, Peter needed to be saved.  The old way would not be enough.  But when Peter wanted to be cleaned again by Jesus, He told Peter that the new way is enough.

In other words, you must come to Jesus for cleansing.  He will wash away your sin, break your connection with sin, and take away the guilt you had because of your sin.  But once you are cleaned by Him, you don’t need to be cleaned again.  What Jesus did for you is good forever.

The flesh has learned to see sin according to the old way.  Sin was sneaky; you didn’t always know when you were doing it.  Sin was dirty and stained you with its filth.  Sin was inevitable; you couldn’t stop if you tried.  Sin was fatal; one sin broke your relationship with God and condemned you to hell.  And, listen: the flesh still sees sin that way.

But the Spirit knows the truth about sin.  The Spirit sees sin as a defeated foe, the broken remnant of the old life.  The Spirit sees sin as conquered in victory; it no longer stains us, no longer defines us, no longer condemns us.  The Spirit sees sin as a vanishing and desperate force that calls to us with a weakening voice.  Yes, it gets us to respond once in a while, but its power over us is gone and its allurement is fading.  Eventually it will be gone from us forever.

You are clean because Jesus has made you clean.  He says it again in the parable of the vine:

You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. John 15:3

But one passage that brings joy to my heart whenever I think of it is from the Lamentations of Jeremiah the prophet.  No matter what he was going through, and he went through a lot, Jeremiah knew the truth:

This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the LORD’S mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:21-23

Every day with Jesus is a new day and a good day.  Walking with Him brings us joy and peace, not shame or fear.  Every day we rise clean and free and blessed!

 

Comments?

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