English proverbs are short, concise sayings that express traditional truths. Many of them, religious and metaphorical in nature, offer sound, uplifting advice and consist of repetitive consonant sounds that make remembering them effortless. This week, we’ll focus on five traditional armchair convictions that connect with scriptural truths and encourage virtuous living.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
1 John 1:9, NIV
“Cleanliness is next to godliness.”
“Go wash your hands for dinner,” I told my daughter.
“Go! Wash your hands for dinner.”
Her argument was logical – to her. We may chuckle at this childish thinking, but we can be guilty of the same rationale – especially in regard to sin.
Today‘s proverb originates from Francis Bacon’s annotation, “Cleanliness of the body was ever deemed to proceed from a due reverence to God.” A respect for God and our bodies as the temple of His Holy Spirit will result in our desire to maintain the cleanliness of our bodies as well our souls.
Have you ever thought that because you asked Jesus to cleanse your heart of sin yesterday, you don’t need to ask for forgiveness again today? Doesn’t it only make sense, if my past, present, and future sins are forgiven when I receive Christ as my Savior, that I shouldn’t need to continue to ask for forgiveness? I’m prewashed, aren’t I?
Today’s text reveals the unfathomable truth that yes indeed, God forgives all of our sin the moment we receive Christ as our Savior. When we become children of God, we receive our heavenly Father’s DNA and an eternal inheritance. God removes the “For Sale” sign on our home in heaven and erects a “Sold” sign in its place. Our eternal home is secure and becomes our real estate from that moment forward.
Our future sin, then, doesn’t change our relationship with God—but it does break our fellowship. If we desire to grow in our relationship with him, it’s necessary to confess our sins as soon as we become aware of them. We confess them not to maintain salvation, but to restore fellowship with our Father.
Several years ago, I experienced physical symptoms that caused my doctors to think I might have a heart blockage. When an EKG and a stress test didn’t rule out that possibility, my doctors determined it was necessary to perform a heart catheterization. The procedure revealed I had no blockages; my veins and arteries were clean.
Later, as I thanked God for the clean results of the procedure, I heard him whisper, “They looked inside your heart and found it clean. Can I?”
After my daughter had washed her hands, I said, “Let me see your hands.”
She lifted her hands―palms up, then palms down.
“Okay. They’re clean. Now, you can sit down at the table.”
If we follow God’s daily directive to cleanse our hearts as well as our hands, we can take our rightful place at his table and enjoy his fellowship once more.
Time to wash up!