Showers are great. No matter how dirty we are, what filth we’ve gotten ourselves into, or how long it’s been since the last bath, we can get completely clean. A little shampoo for the hair, some cleansing cream for the face, a good bar of soap for the rest, and ta da! We’re clean again — as clean as we ever were.
We aren’t obsessed with how dirty we once were. We don’t rush from mirror to mirror, making sure the cleansing succeeded. We know we are clean.
We can be clean spiritually, too.
God promises to make us completely clean on the inside. Psalm 51:7 (KJV) says,
“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”
We can ask God to make us clean and He does. It doesn’t matter what we’ve done, how despicable we’ve been, or how many we’ve hurt, God’s cleansing is thorough.
We don’t always feel clean, though, do we? We remember what we’ve done and we’re ashamed. That shame and the guilt that goes with it keep us from believing the sins are gone. We can’t accept God’s forgiveness. We become obsessed by how dirty we once were on the inside.
Everything in the natural can be cleaned, but it sometimes takes a special process to get there. An oil stain in the driveway takes a combination of chemicals to get clean. Clothing might need bleach. A wall might need repainting. And some stains can never be cleaned no matter how hard you scrub.
That’s the kind of cleaning we’re used to, and we can’t help but wonder what else we could do to get right again after sin. Surely bigger sins require some sort of penance. Somewhere there must be a list of things we need to do to pre-treat our stains before we dare come before the sinless Almighty for forgiveness.
But God’s cleansing is thorough. 1 John 1:9 (KJV) says,
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
“All” is what it says. It doesn’t say “some.” It doesn’t say “certain sins.” It doesn’t say “except for the below-mentioned actions.”
Even if others haven’t forgiven us, even if we haven’t forgiven ourselves, even if we are still living with the consequences of what we’ve done, God’s forgiveness is thorough. Jesus Christ and His death on the cross paid the whole price for our sin. Because of Him, we can be as completely clean on the inside as we are on the outside.
All we need to do is tell God we’re sorry for what we’ve done and ask Him to forgive us. He is waiting to make us clean again.
Cleansed by Grace
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleans us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NKJ).
Likewise, once you and I have been cleansed from our past, present, and future sins through Jesus Christ, we become a clean, brand new person. Once in a while, we’re going to trip up and step into sin, but that doesn’t mean we become the old person that we once were. No, it means we simply need a foot washing.
Remember that sacred night after supper when Jesus took a towel and began washing the disciple’s feet? Peter was appalled! He couldn’t conceive why Jesus would stoop to a servant’s job and wash his feet. Yet, in those days, it was customary for the host to wash the feet of their guest as an act of love. While Jesus was modeling love along with humble service, His actions also symbolized daily spiritual cleansing.
Jesus explained to Peter that without cleansing no one could have a part of Him (John 13: 8). Desiring Jesus above all, Peter preferred not only his feet to be washed, but his entire body as well. Yet, there was no need, for Peter had already been made clean. He only needed to wash the day’s mud from his feet. Through this humble display, Jesus reveals to us a beautiful example of how we can be cleansed by grace as we daily confess our sins.
Sometimes though, we often experience shame when we sin against our Savior causing us to yearn for cleansing all over just as Peter did. However, Jesus is there to remind us that His grace is sufficient. There is no commendation for those who have been washed in His blood, forgiven by grace, and kept by the power of His love.
Not only do we need a daily foot washing, our brothers and sisters do as well. Often when we’ve been sinned against, we want to sling mud at that person. Instead, we should offer them the same love, humble service, and grace that we have received.
Daily, we should wash one another’s feet in the pool of forgiveness. Feet that have been washed by the Savior are feet that will run swiftly to wash another’s. For how can we condemn our brothers and sisters when we, too, have stood in the same mud puddle?
Once you and I have been cleansed through salvation, it never needs repeating. On occasion, however, we may need to purge a little mud. Still, as we agree with God about our sin, Jesus, in an act of love, takes a towel and a handful of grace and kneels to wash our feet. John promises us in our key verse “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleans us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NKJ).
“How my adversaries have increased! Many are rising up against me … But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head.” – Psalm 3:1-3 NASB
Throughout his life, David faced many types of opposition and many problems. In his younger years, some doubted that he could slay Goliath and scoffed when he accepted this challenge. His life was threatened by Saul, who viewed David as a rival for the throne. As a leader of Israel’s armies, he faced opponents who were better equipped and had a numerical advantage.
In times like these, David realized that his “adversaries have increased.” They rose up against him. He heard cries that he could not possibly be successful and that defeat was inevitable.
During those times, David learned to depend on God. Others might attack him, but God was “a shield” about him. Others might doubt him and make him feel discouraged. But God would encourage and assure him and give him confidence.
When David cried, the Lord answered. Suddenly, he was so calm that he could lie down and sleep, knowing that “the Lord sustain[ed]” him (v. 5). He might have been surrounded by powerful enemies, but David was delivered from every fear because he depended on God.
These same principles are true for you. No matter what you face, God is with you. No matter the size of your problems, you can depend on Him. Remember that He is “a shield” about you. As you cry out to Him, trust Him to renew you, give you His strength, remove your fears, and give you His peace.
Tell it all
‘But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.’ Mark 5:33
Suggested Further Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:1–10
You do not know, dear friends, of how much service your open confession of Christ might be to some trembling soul. One reason why we have churches, and are joined in fellowship, is that we may help the weak; that by our daring to say ‘Christ has saved me,’ others may take heart, and may come to him and find the same mercy. ‘Oh,’ but you say, ‘the church does not want me.’ Then, I might say the same, and all Christians might say the same. Where would there be a visible church on earth at all? What is right for one Christian to do is right for all to do; and if it is right for you to neglect professing Christ, then it is right for all believers to do so. And then, where is the church? Where is the ministry? Where is Christ’s truth? How are sinners to be saved at all? Suppose, my brother, that John Calvin and Martin Luther had said, ‘Well now we know the truth; but we had better be quiet, for we can go to heaven much more comfortably. If we begin preaching we shall set all the world by the ears, and there will be a deal of mischief done; hundreds of persons will have to be martyrs for their faith, and we shall be subject to many hardships.’ They had quite as much right to hide their religion as you have. They had quite as much reason for the concealment of their godliness as you have. But alas! for the world, where would have been the Reformation, if these had been as cowardly as you are, and like you had skulked to the rear in the day of battle. I ask again, what would be the wretched lot of England, what calamities would happen to our island, if all who know Christ as you know him were to act as you do?
For meditation: Do you have to plead guilty? Many of us are more ready with our excuses than we are with our testimonies (1 Peter 3:15). The only excuses the early church made use of were excuses for spreading the Gospel (Acts 2:14–15; 3:12–13; 4:9–10,19–20,29; 5:29,41–42).