Clean From The Inside Out

“For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment…”
Isaiah 64:6 (NASB)

“Now when He had spoken, a Pharisee asked Him to have lunch with him; and He went in and reclined at the table. When the Pharisee saw this, he was surprised that Jesus had not first ceremonially washed before the meal. But the Lord said to him, ‘Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the dish; but your inside is full of greed and wickedness.’”
Luke 11:37-39 (NASB)

All of us can recall as children being told to “Wash up for dinner.” Often my mother would inspect me before I sat down to eat. She seemed to know the times I did not do a proper job washing up. Perhaps I was too fast at the sink. Usually, she saw my imperfect job because I had not washed behind my ears. Back I was sent to do what I had missed before being allowed to be seated with the rest of the family.

Cleanliness is important in many spheres of life. I recall lying on the operating table and saw the surgeon scrubbing up. I thought to myself, “Keep scrubbing Doctor, I don’t want you to introduce even one germ into my body!”

Speaking of cleanliness, many older hymns especially focus on how helpless we are and how Jesus must do all in order for us to be rescued from the consequences, the filth of our personal sins.

Our “good works”, our “best efforts” are all viewed as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) in the eyes of our holy God. Scripture says over and over that anyone who sins is under the condemnation of eternal death (Ezekiel 18:4; Romans 3:23). We have no way to atone for our sins. Our only hope is for a substitute to take the punishment our sins deserve and give us the perfect righteousness we all owe the Lord.

We cannot approach our Maker unless our sins have been paid for and we have been clothed in the perfect righteousness of our Good Shepherd. Charles Wesley was right when he wrote:

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine!
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness Divine,

Rejoice today believer in the following words of Horatius Bonar. Be confident that your salvation is perfect in every detail, and you may boldly approach the throne of grace to receive “grace for today and bright hope for tomorrow.”

On merit not my own I stand;
On doings which I have not done,
Merit beyond what I can claim,
Doings more perfect than my own.

Upon a life I have not lived,
Upon a death I did not die,
Another’s life, Another’s death,
I stake my whole eternity.

Not on the tears which I have shed:
Not on the sorrows I have known,
Another’s tears, Another’s griefs,
On them I rest, on them alone.

Jesus, O Son of God, I build
On what Thy cross has done for me;
There both my death and life I read,
My guilt, my pardon there I see.

Lord, I believe; oh deal with me
As one who has Thy word believed!
I take the gift, Lord look on me
As one who has Thy gift received.

-Horatius Bonar

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