Our Body Washed
X.—22. Let us draw near . . . our body washed with pure water.
Man belongs to two worlds, the visible and the invisible. In his constitution, the material and the spiritual, body and soul, are wonderfully united. In the fall both came under the power of sin and death; in redemption deliverance has been provided for both. It is not only in the interior life of the soul, but in that of the body too, that the power of redemption can be manifested.
In the Old Testament worship, the external was the more prominent. It consisted mostly in carnal ordinances, imposed until a time of reformation. They taught a measure of truth, they exercised a certain influence on the heart, but they could not make the worshipper perfect. It was only with the New Testament that the religion of the inner life, the worship of God in spirit and truth, was revealed. And yet wo need to be on the watch lest the pursuit of the inner life lead us to neglect the external. It is in the body, as much as in the spirit, that the saving power of Christ Jesus must be felt. It was with this view that our Lord adopted one of the Jewish washings, and instituted the baptism with water. He that believed with the heart, came with the body to be baptized. It was a token that the whole exterior physical life, with all its functions and powers, was to be Ilia too. It was in this connection John wrote: There are three who bear witness, the Spirit and the water and the blood. The same Spirit who applies the blood in power to the heart, takes possession and mastery of the body washed with water. And where in Scripture the word and water are joined together (Eph. v. 26; John xiii. 10, xv. 3), it is because the word is the external manifestation of what must rule our whole outer life too.
It is in this connection the two expressions aro used here: Our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, our body washed with pure water. The thought was suggested to our author by the service of the tabernacle. In the court there were only two things to be seen— the brazen altar and the lavcr. At the one, the priest received and sprinkled the blood; at the other, he found the water in which he washed, ere he entered the Holy Place. At the installation of the priests in their office, they were first washed and then sprinkled with blood (Ex. xxix. 4, 20). On the great day of atonement, the high priest, too, had first to wash ere he entered into the Holiest with the blood (Lev. xvi. 4). And so the lesson comes to us that if we draw near with hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, we must also have the body washed with pure water. The liberty of access, the cleansing the blood gives, can only be enjoyed in a life of which every action is cleansed by the word. Not only in the heart and the disposition, but in the body and the outer visible life, everything must be clean. Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord } or who shall stand in His Holy Place 1 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart. A heart sprinkled with the blood, a body washed with pure water from every stain, — these God hath joined together; let no man separate them. There have been some who have sought very earnestly to enter into the Holiest of All and have failed. The reason was that they had not clean hands, they were not ready to have everything that is not perfectly holy, discovered and put away. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double-minded—is a word that always holds. The blood of Christ has unspeakable and everlasting power for the soul that, with a true heart, is ready to put away every sin. Where this is not the case, and the body is not washed with pure water, the perfect conscience which the blood gives cannot be enjoyed.
Our body washed with pure water. It is not only in spirit, but with the body too, we enter into the Holiest of All. It is on us here, where we are in the body, that the presence of God descends. Our whole life in the flesh is to be in that presence; the body is very specially the temple, and in charge of the Holy Spirit; in the body the Father is to be glorified. Our whole being, body, soul, and spirit, is, in the power of the Holy Spirit, a holy sacrifice upon the altar, a living sacrifice for service before God. With the body, too, we live and walk in the Holiest Our eating and drinking, our sleeping, our clothing, our labour and relaxation,—all these things have more influence on our spiritual life than we know. They often interrupt and break the fellowship we seek to maintain. The heart and the body are inseparably joined; a heart sprinkled from an evil conscience needs a body washed with pure water.
When He cometh into the world, He saith, A body didst thou prepare for Mo. This word of Christ must be adopted by each of His followers. Nothing will help us to live in this world, and keep ourselves unspotted, but the Spirit that was in Christ, that looked upon His body as prepared by God for His service; that looks upon our body as prepared by Him too, that we might offer it to Him. Like Christ, we too have a body, in which the Holy Spirit dwells. Like Christ, we too must yield our body, with every member, every power, every action, to fulfil His will, to be offered up to Him, to glorify Him. Like Christ, we must prove in our body that we are holy to the Lord.
The blood that is sprinkled on thy heart came from the body of Jesus, prepared by God, and, in His whole life, even to His one offering, given up to God. The object of that blood sprinkling is that thy body, of which the heart sprinkled with the blood is the life, should, like His, be wholly given up to God, should be in all thy walk a body washed with pure water. Oh, seek to take in this blessed truth, and to accept it fully. The heart sprinkled with the blood points to the divine side of redemption, the body washed with pure water, to the human side. Let faith in the divine cleansing and obedience to the call for us to cleanse ourselves be closely linked together. God's work and thy work will be truly one. The heart sprinkled from the evil conscience will then become an unbroken experience, and the blood of the Lamb, the ever-living motive and power for a life in the body, like Christ's, a sacrifice holy and acceptable to God.
1. I am deeply persuaded that in the self-pleasing which we allow In gratifying the claims of the body, we shall find one of the most frequent causes of the gradual decline of our fellowship with God. Do remember, It was through the body that Satan conquered in Paradise; it was in the body he tempted Christ and had to be resisted. It was in suffering of the body, as when He hungered, that Christ was perfected. It is only when the law of self-denial is strictly applied to the body, that we can dwell In the Holiest.
2. He was tempted In all points, like as we are—in His body very specially, and is able to succour us. Let the committal of our body Into the keeping and the rule of Jesus be very definite and entire.
3. "If Miranda was to run a race for her life, she would submit to a diet that was proper for it. As the race which is set before her is a race for holiness and heavenly affection, so her everyday diet has only this one end—to make her body fitter for this spiritual life."