Leaving the Filth Behind

I never would have thought that keeping the inside of a car wash clean would be all that difficult. Just think about it, all that soap, hundreds of gallons of water, and a massive drain, it should wash itself, or so I thought. That was before Dad and I opened our first automatic car wash.
Cars get filthy and all that dirt, when washed off, likes to hang around. It refuses to go down the drain unless urged by a water hose and even then, it puts up a good fight. On many occasions, I have emerged from a “hose down” session looking as if I needed to be run through the wash.
The Bible tells us that, as humans, we are predisposed to be dirtied up with sin, not that we are born sinful, but that it is in our nature to be drawn to sin. “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13) What is even more eye-opening is the fact that not one of us who has ever lived, except Jesus, has ever refused sin’s temptations. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
We are dirty and in desperate need of cleansing.
Jesus and his apostles unmistakably teach us that forgiveness of sins takes place when one believes in Jesus as the Son of God (John 3:16), repents of their sins (Luke 13:3), confesses him before others (Matthew 10:32), and is baptized (Mark 16:16). No one step is “better” or “above” the others, yet remove one and you render the others of none effect. One who is baptized, yet never has repented of their sins, remains in their sins. One who believes in Christ, repents of their sins, confesses Christ and yet refuses Christ’s command to be baptized remains in their sin.
Sadly, the problem today is not so much in convincing a person of their need to submit to Christ in faith, repentance, confession, and baptism; the problem is getting people to move beyond their forgiveness. The apostle Paul dealt with this very issue when writing to the church at Rome. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:1-4).
“Rising to walk in newness of life” is the key to a successful Christian life. If you become a Christian, yet continue where you are spiritually, you are bound to be easily “dirtied up” with the same muck and mire that Christ has just washed off of you.
As humans, we are bound to sin. Becoming a Christian does not safeguard us from sinning; however being a Christian gives us access to the continual cleansing of the blood of Christ. “But if 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). We must remember the person that we were when we became a Christian is no more, “our old man was crucified with him.”
Cleansing leaves filth behind. We need not just be cleansed, but also to leave the filth behind as we stride forward in our new life. “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

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