Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your uncleanness and your idols.
-- Ezekiel 36:25
Cleanliness is next to Godliness.
You won't find this familiar saying anywhere in the Bible. But many people believe it's the Gospel truth. We start or end most days with a hot shower or bath. We stock our bathrooms with antibacterial soaps. And we buy costly laundry detergents and bleaches promising brilliant whites and vivid colors. It all adds up to a soap and detergent industry involving hundreds of companies with combined annual revenues of about $20 billion.
Cleanliness is also part of our popular culture. Mr. Clean has been a recognized Proctor and Gamble icon for more than 50 years. Ivory Soap--famous for more than a century--promotes itself as 99 44/100% Pure. There's even a popular Tide race car on the NASCAR circuit.
Our desire to stay clean seems to be hard-wired into our DNA. But this intense longing covers much more than our face and hands. We also want to be just as clean on the inside. That means a clean heart, a clean conscience and a clean spirit. And what we want most is a clean start in life.
But from the earliest chapters of the Bible, we read that mankind chose to turn its back on God and do its own thing. We decided to live our lives on our own terms and ignore the One who made us, knows us and loves us. And by disobeying God, we destroyed our perfect environment and became soiled with a black spot on our souls that the strongest detergent can never remove.
"Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin," pleaded King David, the one who was called "a man after God's own heart." It's this same plea that we should offer up to God every day.
The good news is that God long ago responded to our helplessness in a most miraculous way. But it wasn't by devising some sort of payment plan for all the damage we've done to our own lives and to others. The price was much too high for that.
Instead, God decided to pay the price Himself through the death of His only Son, Jesus Christ. And as predicted centuries earlier in the Old Testament, He came to Earth in the form of a helpless infant, grew up and lived a faultless, sin-free life, and was unjustly executed for crimes He didn't commit.
It was all so grossly unfair because Jesus was without fault. But there was no other way to fully pay the penalty that we alone deserve. Jesus was more than a teacher, more than a king...and certainly more than a man. He was the perfect sacrifice who came to earth to make us right with God. So when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, God sees us as He sees His own Son: One who is blameless and spotless. All we have to do is accept this free--and incredibly generous--gift of grace.
"I, the LORD, invite you to come and talk it over," says God in the Book of Isaiah. "Your sins are scarlet red, but they will be whiter than snow or wool."
It's time to come clean with God. Are you ready?