Saturday, April 27, 2013

Study Notes on Purity and Spiritual Cleansing

To anyone who may read this, this isn't necessarily meant to be read publicly. If you read through it and get something from it, that would be a blessing to me, but that's not the intent of this particular post.
  • Zechariah 3 (notably 3-5, and 9-10); a vision of Joshua.
We are all "clothed" in something, be iniquity/dirty garments, or purity/clean garments. God cleanses, and He cleanses completely. He is not an incomplete God.
Just as He can take away the dirty clothes of our soul, He can cover us in purity, and cleanse us with His blood to make us whiter than snow.
What are some ways He's cleansed us since our repentance/salvation?
What has He changed in our hearts?
  • Acts 9:3-18; the conversion of Saul.
When told by God to go and lay hands on Saul of Tarsus, Ananias responded with, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” (13-14)
God's response was "But the Lord said to him, 'Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.'" (15-16)
So here we have Ananias, who basically told Jesus, "You've got the wrong guy; don't you know he could arrest me or have me killed for believing in You? He's evil," whereas He responded with, essentially, "You don't know my plans. I've made him clean, and I've chosen him."

Saul didn't choose to follow Jesus. Jesus chose for Saul to follow Him. Not only that, Jesus already claimed possession of the person most notoriously known for persecuting Christ.
Just as Saul didn't choose the grace that would befall him, he didn't choose the suffering that serving Christ would entail, but he learned to greet it with joy (Romans 5). But again, he didn't choose it, God chose him for it.
  • Acts 10:15; And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.”
Peter didn't want to eat an unclean animal, but God told him it was clean, therefore it was clean.
Peter's response to the "sheet" was similar to Ananias' response to hearing he was to meet Saul; "Are you sure you have the right animals? I don't think you really want me eating this stuff."
God's response was the same at the core of it; "I've chosen it, I've made it clean, I've said it's good, just believe that it's good."
What are some ways we know we've been "made clean," and are no longer common? *
Biblical examples of cleansing/restoration/washing:
  • Psalm 51; cleanliness, repentance, and restoration.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; we were sinners in the worst of ways, but we have been washed, sanctified, and justified by Christ.
  • Titus 3:3-7; we were foolish, disobedient, slaves to sin and the flesh, but God cleansed us not through our works or righteousness but through Christ, so that we become heirs.
  • 1 John 1:5-9; God is purity in pure form. There is nothing impure about Him. There is no darkness in Him, only light. If we walk in the light (like He's in the light), Jesus' blood cleanses us of all impurities.
  • Romans 5:8-11; we were still sinners when He died for us. We were enemies of God. We have been reconciled by His blood; we have been made clean.
  • * Galatians 5:19-25; works of the flesh vs. fruit of the Spirit.
  • Romans 12:1-2; we are no longer common because we are not conformed to this world; we're "in" and not "of" the world (as John 17 says).
  • John 13:3-18; Jesus washing the feet of the disciples (awesome example, but lengthy passage).
  • Matthew 23:25-28; two of the seven woes; washing the outside of a cup dirty on the inside, and whitewashed tombs, full of uncleanness. 
If we're clean, we don't shy away from God. We are made presentable before Him if we're clean. Genesis 3:8-10, Adam and Eve hid from God because they were naked. They had dirtied themselves and were afraid of Him, just as a small child is afraid of their father after doing something they were instructed specifically not to do. Our spirit instructs us what we should do through convictions given to us by God. We know to do right by the urging of God within us; we don't do right because the flesh is a weed, a bowl over the light, a fox in the vineyard, a voice screaming while the spirit whispers.
1 John 3:19-21 says God knows our hearts, and if our hearts condemn us, God will all the more (we hide as Adam and Eve did in the Garden). Through Christ, we have confidence and reassurance in His presence; we are washed and cleansed; we are presentable before Him. We are not ashamed nor afraid, because Christ's blood has cleansed our heart.
How can we live so that others know we're saved, or who we belong to? ** (John 13:35)
How can we live so that others want to join and have fellowship in Christ? **
How can we execute a "viral" discipleship, as Matthew 28:19 says we should?
  • ** 1 Peter 3:1-4
These verses outline the conduct of a wife, and say she should be subject to her own husband. These instructions are obviously focused on women, but are applicable to any of us, regardless of our marital or relationship status.
We shouldn't try to draw in people by how we look or dress; our adorning isn't to be external, as in hair style, jewelry, clothing, etc. This is enticing; this honors the flesh.
We are to be submissive, respectful, and pure in conduct so that others may be "won". We are to draw others in by adorning our hearts with righteousness and cleanliness; things that can only come from God. This is attraction; this honors the Spirit.
Who we are in secret, the "hidden person of the heart," is the aspect of us that will truly attract people to the faith (the inside of the cup, Matthew 23:25-26; a clean, pure, attractive heart).