Pastor and theologian J. S. Baxter once said, “What God chooses, He cleanses. What God cleanses, He molds. What God molds, He fills. What God fills, He uses.”
Notice here that after the choosing comes the cleansing. According to 1 John 1:9, Pastor Baxter missed one step, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Before the choosing comes the willingness. Before we are selected we are counted as faithful.
Before we can be cleansed of our sin, we must acknowledge that sins against God have occurred. Just like any addiction, one must first recognize that they’re an addict before any real healing can happen. To be cleansed from our sin, we must approach God in faith, confessing those sins as a sign of our understanding.
Two verses before in our Scripture reading above, we receive a clue towards how this cleansing is achieved, “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
To be cleansed requires a right relationship with God because a cleansing will never be forced. Cleansing is an act of the Holy Spirit and a gift born of mercy, but it does no good for the one who is unwilling to accept it. It is only by faith that cleansing can be activated in the human heart.
Titus 3:5 puts it plainly, “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” Our cleansing doesn’t happen because we’re good or because we deserve it somehow. It is a product of our faith in the understanding that we are broken vessels in need of regeneration and renewal.
This cleansing we have been talking about is the washing away of sin from a previously sin polluted existence. 2 Corinthians 7:1 says it is the ridding of “…every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion.” It is the process of bringing a once tainted life into a state of holiness through mercy and forgiveness solely by Godly grace.
In Pastor Baxter’s next step after the cleansing, is the molding. This too can only be achieved with a willing spirit. Unless we are cleansed, the impurities within will not allow the molding to happen. Our worldliness creates in us the kind of contaminations that prevent our forming into holiness.
The life conformed by the world cannot be formed into the image of God because it has separated itself from God. That is why Romans 12:2 gives us warning, saying, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Likewise, cleansing cannot happen if we have surrendered ourselves to worldly gods. The uncleansed heart is defined by those who choose to follow the will of gods that are a product of human invention. Because of their lack of faith in the one true God, they are made to depend on the cleansing of false gods who don’t have their best interests at heart. Because of this, they are forced to live in spiritual refuse, separated from God, uncleansed from the very things that bring them down.
But even these people are not without hope. In love, God waits to offer them a cleansing from sin and the filth that goes with it. By faith, they too can be renewed and regenerated into a right relationship with the God of Heaven. That is where we come in.
As God’s representatives here on earth, we have the unique responsibility to share the good news of this cleansing to the lost. By our example and through our testimony, we can share what the cleansing of God has done for us. We can tell the story of redemption and extend the invitation to share in the promise of everlasting spiritual cleanliness. But, again, we must be willing.
God offers to cleanse you from all the impurities which inhibit your path to salvation, but it can only come by faith in the one doing the cleansing. Lay down your dependence on false God’s to purify you and come to trust in the only God who can save you. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, cleanse us from our sins so that we might be molded into something You can use. Fills us by Your Holy Spirit so that we might be instruments of change in the lives of the lost. Amen.