October 8, 2015
Unbiblical Statements Christians Believe – Cleanliness is Next to Godliness – Part 4
Cleanliness is Next to Godliness
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you (Exodus 20:12).”
This statement may be another one of those made famous by Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac. It is certainly is not biblical. It may go back even further than that, at least the concept. In the Old Testament, God gave the children of Israel a list of cleansing rituals. One of the basic concepts is you could not come into the presence of the Lord unless you were ceremonially clean. Touching a dead animal, for example, would make you unclean, eating certain foods would make you unclean and the list goes on. There were many rituals associated with these in order to become clean again.
Today, many parents have used this saying to admonish their children to pick up their rooms or take a bath. A better suggestion is teaching them obedience. Being obedient and honoring your father and mother is next to godliness.
One of the purposes of the cleanliness rituals was to point out to mankind his sin. God stresses through the Old Testament that there is in outward cleanliness, but what He wants more is inward cleanliness. When David sinned against God, he turned to Him for cleansing, for only He could wash away his sins:
Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Mark me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which Thou hast broken rejoice. Hide Thy face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me (Psalm 51:7-10).
Through the prophets, God sought to point out to the Jews that they could not attain purity and cleanness. God spoke of Himself as being the One who would cleanse His people from their defilement. The annual day of atonement was an early prototype and picture of the “cleansing” which was to come. What the rituals were pointing to was the future. They were looking to the promise of a cleansing to come, one accomplished by God for His people, a cleansing which the Messiah or Christ would make, a cleansing which would ultimately be by the shedding of His blood.
Have you experienced the cleansing which God promised in the Old Testament and which He has provided in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ?
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