Clean and Unclean

<<unsoiled, dirt free; corrupt, polluted>>

In the OT certain things were declared clean or unclean by the law (Lev chapters 11-17).  Some things were never clean; other things became unclean but could be made clean by certain rituals.  Various divine regulations or procedures helped differentiate the Jews from the other nations as well as ensuring their health and hygiene in a hot climate (Lev 11:44,45).

We too “must distinguish between the unclean and clean” and so live accordingly, avoiding that which is soiled by sin while clinging to the good and pure that reflects the nature of God (Lev 10:10; Ezek 44:23). Remember we are accountable to God for our actions, words and thoughts (Rom 14:12). The areas we easily tarnish are morality and undisciplined lifestyles.

Christ repealed the regulations on unclean meats and practices – later the Bible states it is the thought that defiles not the actual food (Mk 7:1-23; Act 10:9-15; Rom 14:1-23). Christ’s emphasis was on inner spiritual cleanliness rather than the outer physical condition as meticulously observed by the spiritual leaders of His day with whom He clashed (Lk 11:37-52).  However, for your own health observe good hygiene and sanitary measures. 

“Who can say, I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin?” (Prov 20:9). Isaiah cried, “I am a man of unclean lips…all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isa 6:5, 64:6). Sin subtly infiltrates soiling our lives leading to compromise in our standards, reducing our commitment and dedication. The Bible teaches we are not to be intimately joined to unbelievers but separate ourselves from what would pollute and draw away from God (2 Cor 6:14-18). “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted” (Tit 1:15).

No immoral or impure person will be in heaven because nothing unclean can enter the presence of a holy God, and even in this life we are to endeavour to walk in holiness (Eph 5:5; 1 Pet 1:15,16; Rev 21:8). “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your Word” (Ps 119:9; Eph 5:26). It is as we analyze our life against the standard of God’s Word we see the areas we need to deal with. It is

Am I allowing the Word of                God to cleanse me?

our responsibility to cleanse ourselves of everything that contaminates body and spirit by making right decisions, exercising self-discipline and utilising the resources of God (2 Cor 7:1; Eph 4:22-24; Jas 4:8; 1 Jn 3:3). After we choose to go the right way, the Lord will provide the enabling. It was after David acknowledged his sin, he could confidently say, “Cleanse me...and I shall be clean; wash me and I shall be as white as snow” (Ps 32:5, 51:1-7). Similarly, after confessing our sin, God grants forgiveness and cleansing from all unrighteousness (1 Jn 1:9). The blood of Jesus cleanses from sin when we fail to live up to His standard while the Word of God cleanses our character showing us how to live (Jn 15:3; 1 Jn 1:7).

“It’s not what you eat, but what you say and think that makes you unclean” (Mt 15:11,18-20). What is unclean comes from Satan’s realm – this includes whatever is selfish, sensual, destructive and the flagrant obsession with sex – while whatever is pure, lovely, wholesome and outward focused is characteristic of God’s nature. How can a person have a clean mind if it is fed trash through unwholesome TV and magazines? A Christian must carefully guard the entry gates to the inner being. Every sin soils the soul. Many practices are permitted in secular society, yet in God’s economy are sinful. Who can have a close relationship with the Lord? It is those who live upright lives, who “have clean hands and pure hearts” (Ps 15:1-5, 24:3,4).  If we want His blessing we must live according to His standards.

See also: corrupt, defile, entry points, holy, pollution, pure/purity, put off/put on, thinking/thoughts.

Copyright © 2022 Bible Dictionary. All rights reserved. Website design by fuel.