“Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” -Ephesians 5:25-26
“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”-John 15:3
They were just turning down the lights in the sanctuary as I awkwardly slid into a seat near the back of the church. I was tired and soiled by the previous week. Life had been especially difficult, and I had not handled the pressure well. I felt completely unhinged spiritually and wholly unworthy to be in God’s presence. The worship team began with one of my favorite songs, and I hoped I didn’t look as vulnerable as I felt.
It would have been easier to stay home. I didn’t feel like opening myself up to the conviction I was sure God’s Spirit had waiting for me. And yet, the yearning to run to my Father was greater than my shame. A desperate hunger for His compassion and holiness consumed me.
The worship was gentle, soothing. The message from the speaker appeared to have been written with me in mind. As I had figured, the Scriptures for the service hit my issues directly head on. Yes, there was conviction. There was also grace, much more grace. God’s compassion bathed my weary feet and anointed them with hope.
I left church revitalized, awed once again at the cleansing power of the Word of God.
The first washing believers receive is the cleansing of our sins by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit through our faith in Christ’s sacrifice. This comes when we hear the Word of God, believe it, and follow Him. One of our first acts of obedience is baptism, the outward declaration of our internal purification and rebirth.
This purification is permanent. Jesus told His disciples that they were clean because they had received His word. The Bible tells us that His sacrifice sanctified and cleansed His Body, the church.
At the Last Supper, as Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, Simon Peter protested that he needed to be completely washed. Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” (John 13:10) In this passage Jesus declared that all his disciples except Judas were clean. Their feet, which walked through the dust of the earth, were the only part of them that were dirty.
We may feel soiled by the fallen world around us and our own struggles with our old natures. But the blood of Jesus has cleansed us from all sins committed in the past, present, and future. Our feet get dirty from the earth in which we shuffle, and that’s why we need to read our Bibles.
The Bible in not just a book. It is God, written down.
God’s Word is our teacher, healer, and friend. It holds within its pages the power to unlock the mysteries of mankind’s history and future. It reveals our darkest thoughts and our deepest needs. The Bible opens hearts, renews minds, restores relationships, and imparts life.
Best of all, it cleanses us for a new day and a new journey.
About Pamela Thorson:
Pamela Thorson is a licensed practical nurse, author, and full-time caregiver. She pioneered in the homeschooling movement from 1982-2006 and authored her first book, Song in the Night, in 2008. Her second book, Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver, released in 2014. She resides in the Northwest with her family.
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