There are times in our lives when being clean is appropriate, but there are also times when being dirty is desired. As a freshman football player in college, I certainly did not want to be clean after the game. It was a clear sign that I did not get in the game, and if I did, I did not do much since defensive players are supposed to make tackles. One of my most favorite memories was playing in the Atlanta recreation league city championship in Cheney Stadium. It had rained all day. It was a mud bowl. Mud and clumps of grass and who knows what else regularly entered our face masks. After the game, I was covered in mud. There was nothing like that good ole Georgia red clay. My uniform, my socks, my shoes and my underwear were saturated in Georgia red clay. My mom washed my socks and underwear, but the stains never came out.
While I kept those under wear as a badge of honor for years, most of us desire to be clean in our daily lives. There is soap and water for us and washing machines for our clothes, but what about our hearts and souls? That begs me to ask Are You Clean? We like to think that we are good people with good hearts, but the Word of God dismisses that notion. In Romans 3, listen to Paul quote the Psalms.
10 As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.”
In addition, Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?“It is clear from the Word that we are not good nor do we have a good heart. The Word says that God is good not us.
Since we are not clean,how does one become clean? The Word has an answer for that too – the Word. The Word makes us clean. John 1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” That is a direct reference to Jesus Christ. Fast forward to John 15. There, Jesus answers the question of Are You Clean as well as how does one become clean. Let’s read what Jesus said in John 15.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
Jesus said the word He spoke to the disciples made them clean. For us, we need to understand that Jesus meant more than hearing a mere spoken word even from Him. He referred to the words about who He was and what He offered. He meant that since the disciples had placed their faith in Him that they were cleaned by their faith in Christ. Similarly, Paul says, “13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10.
When Jesus stated that the words He spoke to them made them clean, He was conveying that the Word is God’s cleansing agent in our lives. It is Jesus who cleanses us from our sins. It was through His blood that we can be redeemed, but it is his Word that condemns those who do not believe in the Word. Jesus. John 3:18 says, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”The word not only cleanses, it encourages adherence to the Word resulting in growth and victory over sin.
Matthew Henry wrote “The word of Christ is a distinguishing word, and separates between the precious and the vile; it will purify the church of the first-born in the great dividing day. They were each of them clean, that is, sanctified, by the truth of Christ (John 17:17); that faith by which they received the word of Christ purified their hearts, Acts 15:9…The word of Christ is spoken to them; there is a cleansing virtue in that word, as it works grace, and works out corruption. It cleanses as fire cleanses the gold from its dross, and as physic cleanses the body from its disease. We then evidence that we are cleansed by the word when we bring forth fruit unto holiness. Perhaps here is an allusion to the law concerning vineyards in Canaan; the fruit of them was as unclean, and uncircumcised, the first three years after it was planted, and the fourth year it was to be holiness of praise unto the Lord; and then it was clean, Lev. 19:23, 24. The disciples had now been three years under Christ’s instruction; and now you are clean.”
Are You Clean? Consider Psalm 119:11 which says I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. The psalmist knew that it was the Word that made him clean. If you attempt to define your cleanliness without Christ, you are deceived. If you want to be clean, trust in and follow the Word of Christ.