Are you clean? That probably depends on whom you ask. When questioned if he is clean, an eight-year-old may confidently tell his mom, “Yep, I’m clean!” But when she says, “Hold out your hands,” and sees how grimy and sticky they are, she will send him back to the bathroom to wash. “Boy-clean” is not “Mom-clean.” Hand sanitizers claim to kill 99.9% of germs, but doctors have recently questioned the statement. “Sanitizer-clean” isn’t necessarily “doctor-clean.” We may wash hands and face, but to be clean all over, we need a bath or shower.
So what does it take to be “God-clean”? David writes, “Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart” (Ps. 24:3-4). If we do our best to keep the commandments, read the Bible, and be nice to others, we may think we’re clean or at least clean enough. Others might agree and add, “No one is perfect.” But are we really “God-clean”? The Lord says no. He looks at us far more closely than we do. He doesn’t just examine hands and face, but searches the heart and motives. No matter how hard we wash and scrub, we can’t get rid of the filth of our sin. All we can do is smear it around and make ourselves dirtier than ever. “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Is. 64:6).
Instead of telling us to go, wash, and clean up, God Himself washes us in the water of Baptism. “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing of water through the word” (Eph. 5:25-26). Because it is connected to the Word of God, the water of Baptism can do what no other cleaner can. It washes away the grime of sin. Baptized into Christ our filthy rags have been taken off us and put on Jesus. The Father has clothed us with His perfect righteousness. We are not just clean, we are God-clean!
It’s a great feeling to shower off all the dirt and sweat of a long day spent in the garden or woods. The “clean” of being rid of sin’s guilt and being right with God is even better! By our Baptism we can begin and end this day truly “God-clean.”
Yours in His name,
Remember the time change for tomorrow’s Baptism Sunday—One service at 9:30 a.m.
The public school confirmation class will meet at 10:45 a.m.