Sometimes when I am starting to pray to God I feel so unclean, spiritually and physically, that I feel unworthy to approach the Lord. Maybe sometimes you feel the same way?
I once read a Rabbinic thought for the reason the Messiah hasn’t come to the Jewish people (remember “mainstream” Judaism doesn’t accept that Yeshua/Jesus is the Messiah God promised) is because we are unworthy, because we are too sinful to receive the Messiah. I tried to find this again, but couldn’t; however, if I am remembering it accurately, then it is such a shame that they just don’t “get it.” Our sinfulness is not what is keeping Messiah away- it is the very reason He has to come!
I mean, think about it- if we have to be sinless to deserve the Messiah, our sinless condition would disqualify His need to come at all.
Truth be told, only when we are unclean can we come to God for cleansing.
We read in Mark 5:25-34 about a woman who had an issuance (some form of bleeding or fluid loss) which made her ceremonially unclean, but was able to come to Yeshua and be healed.
In Matthew 8:3 a man who is unclean comes to Yeshua saying if Yeshua is willing He can cleanse him; Yeshua says He is willing and cleanses the man.
We also read about how Naaman was cleaned of leprosy by bathing in the Jordan because Elijah told him to do so (2 Kings, 5:10) and we read how God cleansed Miriam of leprosy after Moses prayed for Him to heal her (Numbers 12); of course, in this case it was God who caused the leprosy to come upon her as punishment for talking out against Moses, but the fact remains she was unclean and God cleansed her.
The reason Messiah has o come is because we are unclean; and when we are unclean, if we don’t come to God to ask for cleansing, how will we ever be made clean?
Yes, there are ceremonial practices where we wash our body and clothes in water and after sundown we are clean from certain uncleanlinesses (is that a word?), and for other forms of an unclean condition we may need to sacrifice animals, be sprinkled with blood, etc., but still in all, we have to come to the alter to sacrifice to be cleaned; we come to the Cohen (God’s representative) to be inspected and pronounced “clean” before God and the people; there is no other way to come to God for cleansing other than when we are in our state of uncleanliness.
When you see your child all muddy and soiled, you just have to throw that kid in the bath and burn the clothing! God feels the same way about us when He sees into our hearts and sees the soiled, filthy desires of a sinful nature. He desires to clean us, He wants us to come to Him in any condition we are in. It’s a “Come-as-you-are” salvation that God offers to us, and when we come ready and willing to be cleaned, then God will clean us up. We will still get dirty, and through Messiah we can always be cleaned up again, but because we want to stay clean we will get a lot less dirty than before we did T’shuvah (turning from sin.) Eventually, from a spiritual viewpoint, we won’t look like “Pigpen” from the Charlie Brown comic strip anymore.
Isaiah knew all about our spiritual condition, and said so in no uncertain terms (Isaiah 64:6):
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
King David, when he asked God to forgive him for his sin with Bat-Sheba, knew about God’s willingness and ability to clean us of our sins (Psalm 51:7-12):
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
David, who the bible calls a man after God’s own heart, knew that there is no state of unclean that God cannot make clean.
So if you feel, as I do sometimes, that you are too dirty to come before God, do as I do when I feel that way: remind yourself that God is always willing to clean you up. He has continually cleaned the uncleanable, saved the unsavable, healed the unhealable, and made the filthiest sinner so clean that they shine like silver and are as white as new fallen snow.
Brothers and Sisters, please- never feel you cannot come before God. There is no condition of spiritual or physical being He will reject if you come to Him humbly and honestly: He is always here, within reach, with His hand held out just waiting for you to grab hold of it.