Grace & Truth Chapel
131 Fardale Avenue ~ Mahwah, New Jersey
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"Time to Wash Up" (posted June 1, 2007)

Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.
   - 2 Corinthians 7:1

Serious diseases such as typhus, typhoid, and cholera, which are practically unknown in civilized countries with good hygiene, are very common where poor hygiene is a way of life. Undoubtedly, any effective measure for eradicating these dreadful diseases must include cleanliness.

The Lord Jesus said to Peter, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me" (John 13:8). This is a very serious statement, and it seems to have jolted Peter, who more than anything else did not want to lose his beloved Lord. Thus we see that cleanliness is of great importance, both in the physical and spiritual spheres.

We must realize first that sin makes man unclean in the sight of God. In the Old Testament the sinner is likened to the leper, who had to say about himself, "Unclean, unclean" (Leviticus 13:45). Yet, when a leper came to the Lord Jesus and declared his confidence that if the Lord wanted to, He could make him clean, the Lord told him that He wanted to, and He made him clean (Matthew 8:2-3).

So we see that while sin makes man unfit to be in the presence of God because of his uncleanliness, God wants to cleanse man in order for him to have fellowship with Himself.

There are two kinds of cleansing mentioned in the New Testament. When we first come to the Lord, believing in Him, we receive Him as our Savior and He cleanses us once for all. This we may call positional cleansing. It is eternal and never needs to be repeated. It makes us "accepted in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6) and "complete in Him" (Colossians 2:10). This is by virtue of His precious blood.

But, though our position and acceptance are complete and perfect, our walk and behavior are not. This is well illustrated in the discourse between the Lord and Peter, to which we referred (John 13:1-17).

When the Lord told Peter that unless He would wash his feet he could not have fellowship with the Lord, Peter said he was willing to have even his hands and his head washed. But the Lord then declared a very precious truth, namely that he who was washed (and here He uses a different word for washing, one that means total body washing, i.e., 'bathing') does not need that repeated. He needs to have his feet (i.e., his walk, or behavior) washed in order to enjoy fellowship with Christ. But as far as his position, the Lord declares the believer to be "completely clean." It is of the first importance to be clear on this matter.

Having seen that our acceptance is permanent, we come back to the question, "How can I, the believer, be clean in order to enjoy fellowship with the Lord?" Obviously the answer is two-fold: prevention and treatment---avoid getting dirty, and wash away dirt as soon as you see it. Both are through the prayerful study of and meditation on the Word of God.

Dr. A. Behnam

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