Cleansing from Sin

The New Year brings about resolutions for many, i.e., eat healthier, exercise more, read my Bible daily, etc. The New Year is a time for do-overs and redo’s. It is a time to rededicate our lives to the goals that we had failed to complete in the previous year(s). May one of our New Year’s resolutions be to draw nearer to God. James said, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (4:7a). What a tremendous blessing it is to draw near to God and have Him protect and guide our lives through His Word? While we may understand the blessings of drawing near, many continue to improperly do so because of sin. Instead of letting go of sin’s entanglements and turning to God completely, many allow sin to continue to reign in their hearts, and this cannot be so! We need to remember the remainder of James admonition - “Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (4:8b). Therefore, if we are going to draw near to God, then we must get rid of the sin that hinders this relationship.

In the 51st Psalm, David was confronted with the guilt of his sin with Bathsheba and pleaded to God for forgiveness. David acknowledged the consequence of his sin that drove him away from the presence of God – “Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me” (51:11). The heart of David had turned from seeking God and His will to allowing a moment of passion to replace his deepest desires. Upon this realization, David cried, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my iniquity” (51:2). The result of David’s sin had created a divide between him and God, and he was now earnestly seeking for the remedy. David understood that for him to draw near to God and for their relationship to be restored, every sin had to be repented and forgiven; nothing was allowed to be left! We must learn this same lesson when dealing with our own struggles with sin. It is impossible to draw near to God without first getting rid of all our sin.

A person’s sins are washed away when he chooses to become a child of God. Therefore, do not delay your obedience to the commands of God! Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God through His abundant grace extended to mankind salvation from their sins through His Son, Jesus Christ. Are you willing to put on Christ today? Earlier in the same conversation, Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (3:3). This new birth occurs at the moment of one’s baptism. We have been commanded to believe in Jesus, confess our faith in His deity, repent of our sins, and be baptized in water for the remission of those sins. When these steps are obediently followed one arises out of the watery grave of baptism a new creature, made in newness of life. All of your sins have been forgiven and you can now effectively draw near to God. Have you answered the gospel call?

A person’s sins can be washed away when he faithfully repents and confesses them to his Father. While sin should never again reign in our hearts after baptism, a provision has been made by God for moments of weakness. The apostle John wrote, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). Therefore, no sin is ever excusable but it can be forgiven. If we are serious about drawing near to God, then every sin committed must be dealt with accordingly. As David did not allow the sin to remain a stain upon his heart, neither can we! We must confess our sins and “He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

We must never underestimate the influence of sin in our lives. Sin that is not dealt with quickly, will begin to permeate into every arena of our lives. Without properly taking care of these pervading influences, we may begin to excuse sin and try to justify our actions before God. Ultimately, sin will become our master and our eternity in heaven will be lost. May this never be the outcome of our lives, may we diligently seek to draw near to God and seek His cleansing from all sin!

The mission of Jesus’ life was to “seek and save the lost.” Have you been saved from your sins? In this New Year, please examine your life and ensure that you are walking on the straight and narrow. If you have never become a child of God, do so immediately! If you are allowing certain sins to reign in your heart, repent and flee from them! It is impossible to draw near to God while allowing sin to have any portion of your life. Finally, Jesus said, “But seek first His righteousness and His kingdom, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). May we this attitude be manifested in our hearts and lives!