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Pointers along the way #694

Cleanse ourselves?

- Jacob Ninan

We may be quick to admit we are not perfect. But then, after having said that, what do we do about it? Do we take comfort thinking that God is merciful and will forgive? Do we say that since Jesus has already died for all our sins including what we might do in future we don't have to feel any guilt? Do we reiterate what we are in Christ and tell ourselves that since God is looking at us through Christ, there is nothing to worry? What do we do after that? Do we go on as before, study the Bible more, or work on our ministry? Nothing changes in our life, but we comfort ourselves saying that God will complete what He has begun in us (Php.1:6)!

But God tells us clearly that we ought to cleanse ourselves from every defilement of flesh and spirit and perfect our holiness (2Co.7:1). That means there is something we must do in order to become more holy (set apart for God). One thing we can do for that is to clear up every unholy thing we find in what we do, say and think (defilement of the flesh) and every crooked thing in our motives and intentions (which defile our spirit). Are we doing this at all? How can we do it? If we don't do it, how can we expect the Holy Spirit to bring His fruit into our life, and how can we become more like Christ?

There are two simple things we can do. When we realise we have done wrong, either in an act or in our intention, the first thing is to admit it to God and ask Him to forgive us (1Jn.1:9). That will take care of our guilt. But secondly, don't we have to prepare our mind in such a way as to avoid repeating our sin the next time? This is probably what we forget to do even if we remember the first step.

God is working in us through the Holy Spirit, showing us where we have gone wrong. Now we need to work it out (Php.2:12,13). He will help us. He wants us to (progressively) stop sinning (1Jn.2:1). But He cannot help us if we do not cleanse ourselves rightly when we see sin defiling us. We would then end up doing the same thing again, maybe in a worse manner. That will not make us more like Jesus.

Satan tries to deceive us through a partial preaching of the truth, the part we don't need to hear at that time, and omits the part we need to hear. He deceives preachers and then those who hear them. If we want to experience the fullness of salvation, we cannot depend entirely on preachers. But God has given us His word which we can read for ourselves and learn from. Then His word teaches us that there are things we need to cleanse in our life which we cannot expect the Holy Spirit to do for us.

We fall when we make wrong choices when we are tempted. We can experience salvation only when we learn to make the right choices. The Holy Spirit will convict us and He will prompt us. But finally we have to make the choice to do right. That choice is to stop doing the same sinful thing we have done in the past and to start doing what God wants us to do. God strengthens us, but now we need to do right.


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