Forgiveness & Cleansing

As I have been studying this week I have come across something that I thought was telling of the Body of Christ. I think many of us see God’s forgiveness and His cleansing as the same thing. We believe that when we are forgiven we are cleansed from all unrighteousness. look at this passage from 1 John,

We believe that when we are forgiven we are cleansed from all unrighteousness. look at this passage from 1 John, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)”.

Here in this passage forgiveness and cleanse are two different things. The word “and” tells us that. Yes, when we confess our sins or idols and we give them to God, He will cleanse us from them, but it may not be right now.

His timing is perfect and we at times are not ready for Him to cleanse us from everything, right now. This is why He works on us, usually, one thing at a time. Thinking that forgiveness and cleansing are the same leads to the feelings of shame that is not of God. This shame comes when the enemy comments on our inability to be “perfect”. We tell ourselves that we are failures because we messed up or acted out of our flesh. The fact is that we are forgiven from the eternal consequences of our sin but we still fight the activity of sin in areas of our lives. It seems that we try to get one area under the control of God and then we take back another area. Has anyone else ever felt like this? The fact is, we are forgiven but we need to allow God to continually cleanse our “house”. We need Him to come in a show us the idols of our lives so that can be set free from the bondage that comes from idol worship. The children of Israel were not immune from falling into idol worship and we cannot think that we are.

There are many of us who let God cleanse “certain” things but we hold on to the idols of our lives.  Yes, we could exchange the word idol for sin, but in all actuality, those continual sins that we struggle with are probably idols. Why do I say this? because we have given them a greater importance than our relationship with Jesus. In the Body of Christ we worship the idol of legalism. This is nothing more than self-worship and it says, “look what I have done and look what you haven’t”. We pastors worship the Idol of self-importance and busyness. We could continue to list idols but I am willing to bet that you have already thought of yours. How can we have idols in the Body of Christ!

“But no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who are made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things should not be this way. Does a spring pour out sweet and bitter water from the same opening? Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a saltwater spring yield fresh water. Who is wise and understanding among you? He should show his works by good conduct with wisdom’s gentleness. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t brag and lie in defiance of the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every kind of evil. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace (James 3:8-18).”

This passage is talking about the tongue but all that comes from the mouth is from the heart. Our hearts need to be cleansed from Idols! I know that God’s wants His people to live in victory. But in order for us to really understand what victory really is, we need to understand that the process of His continual cleansing is the victory in Jesus. It is my prayer that we will allow Jesus to cleanse us where He wants to and that we will worship Him in our victories, our  failures and we will allow Him to tear down the idols of our lives. It is my pray that His church will see that we need his forgiveness and His cleansing. It is my prayer that we will allow His power to work through us and that others will see Him and not us.

In His Grip,
Pastor Jason