I was raised in a form of Christianity but never personally received Jesus as my Lord until I was almost thirty-one years old. The sensation of being clean for the first time in my life is one that I still remember as if it was yesterday….and it’s been thirty years.
It was THAT apparent.
A few years after that I was lying in bed, having just awakened, and I was thinking about my pre-salvation life. I was talking with the Father and remarked that, except that I was lost and hell-bound back then, I was really a nice guy and not that bad at all.
The Lord was gracious to me – but what I experienced next in His grace was not pleasant at all.
For the next few seconds which, to me felt like hours, I experienced in my mind a sort of Powerpoint presentation in which the Lord showed me EVERYTHING I had ever done wrong.
Now the Bible DOES teach that prior to Jesus coming God promised that He would not “remember” our sin:
“For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34b)
This does not mean that God FORGETS our sin. God is all-knowing; He never forgets anything.
What it DOES mean is that when He considers us He does not dwell on our sins nor does He see us in terms of our sins. God is not like we are. He doesn’t just remember us in terms of our worst things.
I was being prideful that morning and minimizing what Jesus had done in my life through saving me. God thought it appropriate that I be reminded of what He saved me from: not just the actual sins I had committed but also from the heart I had back then which allowed me to justify all that sin.
Since that time I have been blessed to have ministered the forgiveness of God to many people….many of them were His children…..born again people.
For the lost, I first introduced them to the concept that God wants to forgive sins but that this can only happen when one is born again and becomes a Christian. Far too few receive Jesus as Lord. Those who choose to reject his offer of forgiveness and eternal life choose to remain lost, without Christ, “being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” (Ephesians 2:12)
That will always be sad for me to watch.
There is, in contrast, hope for those who are born again many of whom haven’t yet grasped exactly how forgiven and cleansed from sin they are in Christ. These are like King David was before God forgave him of the sins of adultery, fornication, lust, murder and deception.
“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.” (Psalm 51:3)
Far too many of our Christian brothers and sisters are consumed with shame over sins which have been forgiven by God and feel filthy because of what they have done.
This delights the devil and I pray that this piece will steal that evil joy from satan today as people read it and receive the cleansing God has for them.
Many years ago, I was ministering in Houston. Some of us had been invited to a church building to serve on a prayer team for the night. God was in a season of touching the hearts of many there at that time. (He seems to do this periodically for groups but is ALWAYS ready do to this for individuals. All we have to do is cry out to Him and He will bless us in this way.)
The main speaker had presented the word the Lord gave him for that night and the praise team was playing some music. People were standing or sitting and others were praying for them. God’s grace manifested itself in many ways as they prayed.
I sensed the Lord would have me pray for a young woman. She was sitting off to the side on the 2 or 3 steps leading up to the stage with her head in her hands, obviously distraught and sobbing. A woman I knew from the church building at which I was on staff was sitting behind her with her arms around her….silently praying.
I knelt down before this woman and just quietly prayed. Eventually she recognized that I was there. I asked her how I could pray for her.
She looked at me through her tears and cried out, “I am so dirty!”
I looked at her and asked her, “Why?” and she told me that she had been an exotic dancer and that she had prostituted herself many times with the men who attended that place.
I asked her if she had received Jesus as her Lord and was born again. She said she had been but added with a lot of grief, “but I am SO filthy!”
Her sin was ever before her.
I didn’t know what to do so I asked the Lord and this is what He gave me to do.
I said, “Did you know that the Bible says that when you asked Jesus to be your Lord that He spent Himself and literally bought you?”
She said she had never heard that so I quoted this verse to her:
“…do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For YOU WERE BOUGHT AT A PRICE; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.” (1Corinthians 6:19-20)
I told her that all Christians literally belong to God (Acts 27:23).
I asked her, “So, do you belong to Jesus?” She nodded. I asked her if there was any doubt at all in her that she belonged to Jesus and she kept my gaze and shook her head slowly.
I said, “You BELONG to Jesus. Just how much of you belongs to Jesus? Does just a part of you belong to Jesus or does ALL of you belong to God.”
She said, “All of me.” I told her I agreed with her.
Then I reached out and touched her hair that was hanging in her face and asked her, “So, since all of you belongs to Jesus whose hair is this….really?”
She said hesitantly, “I…I guess it’s Jesus’ hair.” I replied, “You’re right! And its nice hair but even if it wasn’t nice hair, you should take good care of God’s hair that is growing out of your head.” She kept looking into my eyes.
I asked her if I could touch her face and when she gave me permission I asked her, “Whose skin is this, really?” She said, “This is God’s skin.” I nodded, smiling.
Then I said, “Let me ask you this” while pointing at her heart.
“Whose heart is that in your chest?” She whispered quietly, “God’s”. I leaned forward and quietly told her, “You have God’s heart. And that blood that Christ’s heart pumps all through your body…..whose blood is that?”
She looked at me, blinking back a different kind of tears. I nodded and said, “That’s right the blood of Christ is pumping through your veins. There isn’t a second that goes by during which every, single cell of your body isn’t bathed in the blood of Christ because God’s heart pumps it all through your body continuously.”
I looked her in the eyes and asked, “Are you LISTENING to me?”
I said, “The blood of Christ washes clean everything it touches. Do you believe that?”
“But if (since) we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)
She looked at me with her mouth hanging open and said with great wonder, “I’m clean.”
I smiled and said, “Excuse me?” and she said it louder: “I’m clean!
I’m CLEAN!!!! I’M CLEAN!!!!” to which I replied, smiling, “You most certainly are!”
I urged her to never forget that Jesus is more than able to fix what we have broken, to heal what we have hurt and to clean what we have done to dirty ourselves. The Christ is more powerful than we are.
The sad thing is that many Christians can’t seem to shake the sensation of shame and filth over the things they did or that had been done to them prior to coming to the Lord. They do not realize what Jesus has done for us in this regard.
“For such a High Priest (Jesus) was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people's, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.” (Hebrews 7:26-27)
Jesus has cleansed us.
“But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, CLEANSE YOUR CONSCIENCE from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:11-14)
Let’s deny our enemy the joy he receives from tormenting Christians about the things he placed in our lives but that he KNOWS Jesus cleansed out of us the MOMENT we were saved.
Let’s be like that young woman that night so long ago in Houston, TX and receive the cleansing that Jesus has always performed in our hearts, consciences, and bodies! AND, let us cease to try to cleanse ourselves since it is fruitless and a complete waste of time, effort and angst.
Let’s live clean lives.
“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.’ And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious BLOOD OF CHRIST, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:13-19)
Let’s refuse to feel unworthy because Christ has made us worthy!
Let’s approach God’s throne as those who Jesus has made clean, whole and free.
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:19-22)
May you live from this day forward as those who have been cleansed and made worthy and “walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” (1 Thessalonians 2:12)