Daunting Cleansing Rituals

I recently had a conversation with a friend about the many precautions we have to take as to not spread or catch the Coronavirus. In particular, cleaning routines.

When life was “normal” we never thought about disinfecting our mail or delivered packages. We didn’t wash our hands for 20 seconds multiple times a day. We didn’t change our clothes as soon as we got home from the grocery store.

Who could have ever imagined we’d be wearing gloves and masks to buy our groceries for crying out loud. Not to mention cleaning every handle and doorknob in our homes every day, sometimes more than once a day. It’s a daunting task!

It reminds me of the cleansing rituals the Israelites had to practice in the Old Testament.

The cleansings were done in preparation to be in God’s presence [Exodus 19:10-11]. The priests had to be consecrated before they entered the temple [Exodus 40:12-15]. If a person had an infection they had to be quarantined and cleansed before going out in public again [Leviticus 13:6].

These rituals involved washing clothes, bathing, sprinkling water, washing of hands and feet. Sound familiar? There was a specific cleansing ritual for every situation. More than 7000 ritual washings. Ugh! Can you imagine?

In the Bible, uncleanliness is a representation of sin. All the cleansings were an attempt to be holy in the presence of a holy God.

Leviticus 11:44a I am the Lord your God, consecrate yourselves and be holy because I am holy. 

The more I think about the numerous cleansing rituals that had to be performed to be in God’s presence, the more thankful I am for Jesus.

Through Christ, we are made holy.

Colossians 1:21-22 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation. 

The lyrics in a hymn by Robert Lowry say it all:

What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus; What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! precious is the flow That makes me white as snow; No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Nothing but the blood of Jesus can wash away our sins. Not church attendance, baptism, or bible reading. Not charity or community service. Not praying ritualistic prayers, singing in the choir, or fasting. Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

We would never be able to do enough good to wash our sins away. The wages of sin is death [Romans 6:23]. If we could wash our own sins away by doing good, Jesus suffered and shed His sinless blood for nothing.

1 Peter 1:18-19 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

Are you wearing yourself out trying to wash your sins away by doing good? Good deeds are great if they are done for the right reasons.

We should do good out of gratitude for what God has done for us through Christ, not to appease Him. Jesus has already appeased the wrath of God on the cross [Romans 5:8-9].

You may be thinking, “That seems too simple.” For us, it is. But for Jesus, it was a horrific sacrifice.

There is only one thing we need to do to accept the gift of having our sins washed away. Believe. That’s it.

Romans 10:9-10 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 

If you are needlessly wearing yourself out by trying to wash your sins away with good deeds, I’d like to invite you to pray the prayer below and mean it with all of your heart.

Jesus did all the work it took to wash our sins away. That is good news for all of us today. With all the bad news in the world, we could all use a little good news. This isn’t just good news, it’s the best news ever.

Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Jesus. 

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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