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IN TOUCH WITH GOD   by Edward Heppenstall

Fellowship With God FEBRUARY 17


The blood of Jesus Christ . . . cleanseth us from all sin. 1 John 1:7.

Forgiveness and cleansing go together. God is not content with just forgiveness. God's purpose is to go further and cleanse us from sin. Christ's treatment of the leper illustrates the point. "Once he was approached by a leper, who knelt before him begging his help. `If only you will,' said the man, `you can cleanse me.' . . . Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, `Indeed I will; be clean again.' The leprosy left him immediately, and he was clean" (Mark 1:40-42, N.E.B.).

God stamped leprosy as unclean, and using this as an object lesson, we may understand God's abhorrence of all the forms that sin takes. Leprosy was then a living death. It was a gradual and horrible dissolution, the body rotting out of the grave instead of in it. Sin is like that. It destroys a man before it destroys the body. Christians are made alive in Christ, a new creation. The leprosy of sin is truly dealt with.

But a sick man forgiven of his sins could never be content to remain a sick man. Consider the paralytic man let down through the roof to reach Christ. First, his sins were forgiven, then he was healed. If we have faith to believe that Christ has forgiven our sins, we trust also that He will surely heal and cleanse us. Forgiveness is costly business, based on the sacrifice of Christ. God is not dealing carelessly with sin.

When we come to Christ, cleansing is equally as certain as is forgiveness. God does not give us one without the other. For the paralytic, Christ did both. When we cry, "O Christ, make the clean," God always answers, "Be thou clean." We say as did Peter when Christ knelt to wash his feet, "Not only my feet but my head, my hands, and my heart." Let us not settle for less.

We have to quit playing around with our sins. If we really want a way out from our sins we must let Christ cleanse us completely. He is never satisfied to remove one sinful spot at a time. He makes sure of a whole cleansing if we commit our lives to Him. To cleanse our whole lives is God's way. Let us say with David: "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me" (Ps. 51:10). God will reply, not by making us a little cleaner, but by making us every whit clean and whole.

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