It is a wonderful day, and moment, when the Lord speaks to our hearts, saying: “Go your way, your faith has made you whole.” Numerous are the examples in the Old and New Testaments, where the Lord specifically addresses individuals, and Israel, declaring to them that their sin, at that moment, is completely, entirely taken away. All previous sin is gone. What a wonderful, liberating moment to KNOW that the “filthy garments” have been removed, and clean ones have been provided. It is at this point that we must be mindful that cleansing is not just an automatic action by God, because He decided out of the goodness of His heart to grant it. The believers, before Jesus was born, were looking forward to a “spotless lamb,” the actual sacrifice for sins. On this side of Christ’s coming, we are looking back to the “Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world,” this same perfect sacrifice for sins. God only forgives, cleanses us from sin, on the basis of the sacrifice of His Son, and His precious blood which was shed. For us to be cleansed from sin, the Father had to give everything in His Son, and His Son had to give everything in return to His Father. Herein is the power and authority of His words: “Go your way, your faith has made you whole.” Once we come to grips with the depthless meaning of the cleansing power of God, these liberating words lead us to the ask the question: What next?
In the case of Isaiah, after his iniquity had been removed, he heard the Lord’s voice, asking: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (Is. 6:9) Isaiah would respond: “Here am I, send me.” In the case of Joshua the high priest (Zech. 3), after his filthy garments (his iniquity) had been exchanged for clean ones, Joshua is “recommissioned” by God to walk before the Lord, and fulfill his charge, or ministry before God. Peter, after knowing that he had been forgiven for denying the Lord Jesus three times, is asked the simple question: “Do you love Me?” (Jn.21) He is then told what he is to do. “Feed (…and tend) my sheep.”(v.15,16,17) Cleansing and healing are the prerequisites for following Christ, serving Him, entering into that very reason for which He died for us.
All through Scripture the concept of “cleanness” before God is a reoccurring theme, because of its essential quality and nature. When called to go forth from exile, out of Babylon, the Lord exhorted the people of Israel: “Touch no unclean thing….” (Is. 52:11) He would also speak of the priests saying, “….Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.” What does He mean by this? It is the same as when the Lord Jesus spoke to the disciples: “Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” (Jn. 15:3) It is God who cleanses, and He does so according to His declaration. John would later write that when we truly confess our sins to God, “…He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to CLEANSE us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jn. 1:9) Cleanness is essential if we are to have confidence before God. When we walk before Him in the light of His countenance, He cleanses us, and keeps us clean. It is then that we can, on a daily basis, respond to His call to “be sent,” to serve, and to “go…”
Dear Father, David prayed: “Create in me a CLEAN heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Ps. 51:10) Grant us the heart of which Charles Wesley wrote: “A humble, lowly, contrite heart, Believing, true, and clean, which neither death nor life can part, from Him that dwells within.” Then, we shall hear anew Your voice, saying: “Follow Me.” In Jesus’ name. Amen.