ARE YOU CLEAN?
by Wayne S. Walker
"Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow" (Psalm 51:7). Have you ever been working outside on a hot summer day? Perhaps you were weeding the garden and in addition to being sweaty were covered with dirt. Or maybe you were doing some work on the car and in addition to being sweaty were covered with grease. How wonderful it feels to get in a hot shower, wash thoroughly, and come out clean. The Bible uses this figure of speech to picture the effects of sin on our soul and the need for forgiveness.
In the Old Testament, the Lord prefigured this picture with the concept of ceremonial uncleanness. Many things could make a person "unclean" for varying periods of time, but one major source of uncleanness was leprosy. This dreaded disease had no known cure, but sometimes people did recover from it, and in order for them to be ceremonially cleansed, the Lord prescribed a ritual. "Then the priest shall command to take for him who is to be cleansed two living and clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop" (Numbers 14:5).
David understood that his sin made his soul unclean in the sight of God. Just as the law of Moses prescribed the use of hyssop as part of the ceremonial cleansing after a person was healed from leprosy, so David asks the Lord to purge him from his sin as with hyssop, so that he would be clean, washed, and whiter than snow. While we may or may not have sinned in the same way that David did, "all have sinned" (Romans 3:23). Therefore, our sins need to be purged so that we can be clean. We must be washed so that we can be whiter than snow. David prayed a few verses later, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (verse 10).
How can we be washed so that our souls may be clean? Of course, the cleansing agent that washes away our sins is the blood of Christ (Revelation 1:5). But there are things that God expects us to do that our sins might be washed in Christ’s blood. Saul of Tarsus was told, "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). However, even after we are baptized, washed from sin, and become Christians, we still sin. Yet, if Christians confess their sins, God will forgive them as the blood of Jesus cleanses them from all sin (1 John 1:7, 9). "Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power, Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?" (Elisha A. Hoffman).