Acts 15:9 + Ephesians 5:26
“and He made no distinction between them, cleansing their hearts by faith.” “that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by washing of water with the word.”
Peter stood up at the Council of Jerusalem and made it clear to all that the most important thing was not the color or creed of a person. It was not where a person comes from or whether he’s Jew or Gentile. (everyone who is not a Jew) The true test of being a child of God is having a heart that is being cleansed by faith! You see, God knows our hearts. He knows everything that resides in the heart of man, as the human race and as individuals. So the distinction is not in the outward things that a man does or does not do. This plan of God cannot be seen on the outside of man. There is nothing a man can do to show himself to be loved of God. Man always fails and makes mistakes. So God cannot be found, or measured by the actions of a person. The true measure of God on a person’s life is seen within his heart. Only there does God do His work. Only there can man have a relationship with his heavenly Father.
So, what is the instrument, or agent, that God uses to cleanse our hearts? If we decide to wash the filth of this world off of us in a physical world, we use soap and water. Think about being really dirty. You just worked out in the yard all day and you have dirt and grime all over you. What if you just took a bar of soap and rubbed it on your self? Would it clean you? Or what if you just threw water on yourself. Would it clean you? The answer is, obviously, no. So if in the physical realm we need agents to cleanse us, soap and water, what about in the spiritual realm?
In the Spiritual realm, or in our heart, we are cleansed by the Holy Spirit and the Word! The Holy Spirit can’t cleanse our hearts if we don’t know what’s wrong with them. By the same token, if we know what’s wrong with our heart but we have no power to change them, it won’t work either. But when they come together, the Holy Spirit breathes upon the Word and it becomes alive. You might say that the Holy Spirit lifes the Word. Now the Word of God can cleanse our hearts!
The bottom line is simple. Reading, studying and praying the Word is what cleanses our hearts. When we feel dirty spiritually we must cleanse ourselves to feel clean. As we go through the day we don’t always do what’s right and we start feeling the shame and guilt of what we’ve done. These feelings start to add up until we feel a heavy burden upon us that we can’t carry. This is when we start to feel dirty. So, when you feel this way, take a bath! Study the word and let God cleanse you so you can feel good again. That is the importance of staying in the word. I pray that you will be cleansed today and that His life would flow through you! Amen!