Clean windows were a big deal in my house growing up… and I’m still feeling the effects! The good news is that I still like windows. The bad news is that I really detest the smell of vinegar! Yes, I had a great childhood, but for some reason, a simple pungent whiff of vinegar still brings back the less-than-pleasant memories of my most dreaded chore—washing windows with a vinegar water solution in a house that had hundreds of small panes!
I’ve come to realize that “clean” is not a bad thing, even if it means work, and I do occasionally get around to washing the windows of our house—though I use cleansing agents not called vinegar!
Most of us like the feeling of clean, whether it’s clean windows, clean clothes, clean sheets, a clean car, or clean teeth. Showering after a blistering day’s work in the yard or taking a hot bath before bed are on my list of pleasurable activities.
I think God likes clean, too. Especially when it comes to the heart. Jesus once chided the religiously scrupulous but proud Jewish leaders, “You are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence!” (Matthew 23:25 NLT)
Wow! Talk about X-ray vision! He sees us to the core and understands where our true issues lie.
When I hear Jesus referring to our sin as an awful internal pollutant, I realize that just “cleaning up my act” or “putting on a good front” doesn’t cut it with God.
Then how does one get a “clean heart”?
When King David of Israel—who really loved God—fell into the sins of adultery and murder and was exposed by God’s messenger Nathan after covering up and living a lie for an entire year, David realized he needed cleansing big time and so poured out his desperation to God in Psalm 51:2: “Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin,” he pleaded.
David understood what many of us have come to experience—only God can really clean up the mess of our sins.
The best “clean feeling” is when we know that God has forgiven us for all our sins, and we experience his love and grace. He can do that because Jesus died for our sins and paid the price of our offenses, then rose to give us new life, which is something we receive the moment we place our trust in him.
“You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross.” (Colossians 2:13, 14 NLT)
“There was a time when some of you were just like that, but now your sins have been washed away, and you have been set apart for God. You have been made right with God because of what the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God have done for you.” (1 Corinthians 6:11 NLT)
I Googled “cleaning products” the other day and read through a whole list of things from Ajax and Brillo Pads to Comet, Febreze, and Sani Flush! But nowhere did I see the ultimate cleansing agent listed—Jesus Christ.
“But if we are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ is, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin.” (1 John 1:7 NLT)
We get a “bath” when we trust Jesus as our Savior and are considered completely clean before God forever! When we malfunction and sin as God’s children we get a “spot cleansing” whenever we acknowledge our sins to Him.
“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.” (1 John 1:9)
A clean heart that comes from God is the good news were celebrating this Sunday at our Baptism Celebration at Newton Pool, where at 5:30 pm, twenty-two of our church family are giving testimony of their faith in Christ and identifying publicly with Him. That’s why we’re calling the event “Washed.”
I hope to see you there.
Bring your family and friends, some food to share, and a chair to sit on, and we’ll celebrate getting “clean” before we enjoy getting wet!