We need God’s forgiveness and cleansing. Jesus is our Savior and He does both. The faith that obtains forgiveness is the same faith that connects with God for cleansing.
This post is part of my book launch, God’s Triumphant Mercy: A Reflection of Psalm 51 . . .
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Man’s inherent default is self-sufficiency. The Galatian error—starting with relying on Jesus for salvation and then turning to oneself for the continuation of it—is much more prevalent in our hearts than we realize. It seems to be an unspoken assumption that, while our initial salvation is dependent on God, our sanctification is more so dependent on us.
We heartily agree that forgiveness can only come from Him, but we’re normally not so eager to hold to the same God-centeredness when it comes to living a pure and clean life. Many times, we come up with external rules, not found in the Bible, in order to life such a holy life.
Jesus didn’t mince words when it comes to our salvation. He said: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26). He also said: “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Many times, it takes a lifetime to learn these truths; some will only discover them in glory.
David realized that a pure life is God’s gracious work. He asked God to act upon him. Only He can purge and wash us from our sins. Not only do we need His forgiveness, we also need His cleansing. The fountain from which our sins flow—our heart—needs to be purified.
In the Old Testament, hyssop is mentioned in relation to the ceremonial cleansing of God’s people. It has an inherent cleansing effect. It was part of the ceremonial law. However, the law “has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities” (Heb. 10:1).
Jesus’ death doesn’t only include our forgiveness, but also our cleansing and purification: “Who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14). Isn’t it an awesome thought that Jesus came for sinners who commit adultery and murder in order to redeem and purify them?
He alone can wash us from our sins. When He does so, we’ll be wither than snow: “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” (Isa. 1:18). Let’s flee to the One who alone can forgive and cleanse us.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You can make me wither than snow.
The Devotional Writer
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