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Thursday, May 26, 2011

trips to the washateria

I would classify that moment as a "rude awakening". In preparing to leave town I had carried a load of clothes downstairs to begin the laundering process. After loading the clothes and measuring the appropriate quantities of detergent and fabric softener, I pushed the buttons to begin. No response. No lights, no sounds - nothing. Anxious efforts to restore power to the washing machine failed.
Following a trip to the laundromat and our out-of-town excursion, an appliance repairman made the official diagnosis: the electronic circuit board had been shorted and a new one was needed if the nine- year-old washer was to ever work again. The price of the new circuit board was close enough to the cost of a new machine to warrant replacing the machine. Now, no more trips to the washateria!
The ability to wash clothes is like many other things in our lives: we don't know how much we depend on them until they're gone. My work doesn't result in heavily soiled clothes, as many jobs do. Still, if I want to be presentable to the public, clean attire is a must. The washing machine has to be reliable and ready.
Those who wish to be presentable to God must also be concerned about cleansing. "Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart ..." (Psalm 24:3,4). The Bible says much, in fact, about cleanliness in the sight of God. The issue is not dirt and grime, but sin. That's why James tells us that "pure and undefiled religion" involves keeping "oneself unspotted from the world" (James 1:27). Living in a world of sin makes it too easy to be splattered by the defilements of sin.
But how can souls that have been muddied by sin ever be clean again? That was the question of Psalm 119:9: "How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word." The answer is simple. Pay attention to what God has said if you want to have your soul cleansed of all that has made it filthy in His sight.
The apostle Paul knew something about being defiled. He wrote about what his life had been before Christ: "... I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man," he wrote in 1 Timothy 1:13. He regarded himself as the chief of all sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). But he also believed God had washed him of those sins. How did it happen?
Acts 9:1-9 tells about Paul's encounter with Jesus. Previously Saul (his Jewish name) considered Jesus a fraud. At the conclusion of the encounter he saw Jesus to truly be the Son of God, the Messiah. But he was still in sin, guilty of offending God in numerous ways.
To remove those sins Ananias was sent by Jesus (Acts 9:10-16) to provide further instructions. What were those further instructions? "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). Ananias was carrying out the great commission given by Jesus years earlier (Matthew 28:18,19). By being baptized, Paul could know that his sins were washed away.
You and I need clean clothes. More than that, we need our souls to be cleansed. That power is available to any who will come to Jesus Christ with faith and obedience. Once cleansed, we'll be presentable to God!
Timothy D. Hall

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