Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?
A subject that stretches back and looks onward as far as the limits of human history. But Jesus Christ has introduced into the world a power for purity which is peculiar to his gospel.
I. THE UTTER UGLINESS OF IMPURITY. To the eye of holy men there is an unspeakable offensiveness in any form of impurity - selfishness, worldliness, covetousness, sensuality, whatever it may be. And how much more hideous and intolerable must it be in the eyes of the Holy One himself (Habakkuk 1:13; Psalm 5:5)! This is one explanation of choosing leprosy as a type and picture of sin, viz, its fearful loathsomeness in the sight of God.
II. ITS EXCLUSION FROM THE PRESENCE AND KINGDOM OF GOD. (See Psalm 50:16; Psalm 66:18; Proverbs 15:29; Proverbs 28:9; Isaiah 1:10-17; Matthew 5:8; Hebrews 12:14)
III. THE ONE WAY OF RETURN. When the heart sees, and is ashamed of, its corruption, and returns in simple penitence to God, then there is mercy and admission. But sincere repentance is the only gateway by which impurity can find its way to the favour and the kingdom of God.
IV. THE ESTABLISHMENT OF INWARD PURITY. When the heart, conscious of guilt, has sought and found mercy of God in Jesus Christ, and is "cleansed of its iniquity," so that there is "a clean heart and a right spirit" before God, all is not yet done that has to be accomplished. What Christian man can say, "I have made my heart clean; I am pure from my sin"? "If we [who are in Christ Jesus] say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8). "In many things we offend all" (James 3:2). We are washed, but we "need to wash our feet" (John 13:10). There yet lingers within the heart of the humble and the pure that which needs purification before they will be "holy as he [the Lord] is holy." What are these cleansing forces which will best do this much needed and most desirable work? Are they not:
1. The avoidance of that which defiles; the deliberate turning away of the eyes of the soul (so far as duty to others will allow) from all that stains and soils?
2. Much fellowship with Jesus Christ the Holy One, and much intercourse with his true friends and followers?
3. The earnest, determined pursuit of that which is noblest in man, especially by the study of the worthiest lives?
4. Prayer lop the cleansing influences which come direct from the Holy Spirit of God (Psalm 51:10; Psalm 139:23, 24; 2 Thessalonians 2:17; Hebrews 13:20, 21)? - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?