“Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil.” (Isaiah 1:16)
There are endless commercials on television that boast of how their products are best when it comes to a “thorough cleaning.” Their claim is that your clothes will be a “whiter” white and your colors, more vibrant. I would say this is a very competitive market with almost every company making the same (or similar) claims. I certainly believe that cleaning should be thorough. The law of Moses spoke at length of the necessity of a thorough cleaning when certain contagious diseases, like leprosy, demanded cleansing beyond the ability of soap and water, i.e., the use of fire was instituted. God certainly conveyed the principle of thorough cleaning. By the way, this is a fixed principle in God’s Word.
The word “washing” is used only twice in the New Testament. There is the “washing of regeneration” and the “washing of the scriptures.” (Titus 3:5; Ephesians 5:25,26). Since both the Word and the Spirit of God are listed as the active and effective agents in accomplishing the miracle of regeneration: “Being born again. . . by the Word of God” (I Peter 1:23). “Ye must be born again. . . . born of the Spirit” (John 3:7,8). It is clear that the washing of regeneration is synonymous, symbolically, with the “renewing of the Holy Ghost” and also with “the washing of water by the Word.”
The true washing of regeneration is not a ceremony or ritual, but an eternal reality, “Shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Titus 3:6). It has nothing to do with “works of righteousness” (Titus 3:5), but only with “being justified by his grace” (Titus 3:7). Although regeneration by the Word through the Spirit both symbolize a cleansing bath in water (a thorough cleaning), yet it is entirely “according to his mercy.” There must be a continual “washing of water by the Word.” Jesus said, “Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you. . . . If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:3,7).
The Word will first reveal our sins (Hebrews 4:12) and then cleanse our sins through its gracious exhortations and promises. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy Word” (Psalm 119:9). Christian, are you thoroughly cleansed through the Word today? Does your life manifest the cleaning? Read again Isaiah 1:16.Pastor H. Preston Parker