I am a bit of a germophobe. I can see germs everywhere. As a result, I am mildly obsessed with keeping my hands clean. I am usually aware of what my hands last touched. And, often, that means it time for a hand wash: whether with good old soap and water, or with the now ubiquitous, hand cleansers.
The Pharisees in Jesus’ day were germophobes of a sort too. For them, it wasn’t just unhygienic, it was sinful to eat without first washing your hands.
However, as Jesus pointed out, germs are really not what we need to be worried about. Instead, Jesus contended that germs only affect the body, and most germs that are consumed are simply flushed out by the body.
Jesus further declared that the actual problem is sin-sickness which can be diagnosed by what comes out (the words and actions and attitudes) of an individual.
“There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man… Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught… For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” ~ Mark 7:15, 19a, 21-23
Yes, it is true that many dangerous diseases can be transmitted through direct or indirect contact. But, while germs may harm the body, sin and sinfulness definitely harm the soul; making us unclean, defiled, before a pure and holy God.
“For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD.” Jeremiah 2:22
In today’s society, we are constantly bombarded with ‘sin germs’. We get them from our interaction with people, groups, cultures, things that transmit unholy attitudes, unclean speech, filthy principles, and unhealthy counsel (‘badvice’).
However, we seldom consider washing away the ‘sin germs’ we have picked up as we live our daily lives. But, just as we are taught to wash away regular germs, Scripture teaches us to wash away ‘sin germs’ with God’s Word.
“Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” ~ Ephesians 5:25b-27
It is right to practice good hygiene, and so we wash our hands from time to time in the course of a day since we can’t completely isolate ourselves from regular germs (despite Howard Hughes‘ efforts).
Likewise, we must interact with the world around us and we can’t isolate ourselves from unintended contamination by ‘sin germs’. So we must dive into God’s Word frequently to wash our spirits clean.
But, how much do we want to wash away ‘sin germs’ that have piled onto/into our lives?
To be sure, just as accumulated germs will eventually make our bodies sick, an accumulation of ‘sin germs’ will eventually make our souls, hearts and minds sin-sick too. We MUST wash them away regularly with God’s Word!
As, I reflect on my own ‘germophobia‘ and how often I wash my hands, it seems to me that my spiritual life would be much healthier if I was as dedicated to washing ‘sin germs’ from my spirit as I am to washing regular germs from my body.
How many times have you ‘washed’ today?