Cleanliness

Definition of cleanliness, cleanse(d) 

The meaning of cleanliness is to make clean, pure, holy

Cleanse me from these hidden faults

Psalm 19:12 – How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?  Cleanse me from these hidden faults.

Be cleansed of your sins

Acts 3:19 – Now turn from your sins and turn to God, so you can be cleansed of your sins.

Cleansed their hearts through faith

Acts 15:9 – He made no distinction between us and them, for he also cleansed their hearts through faith.

* Spiritual cleansing comes only from God

Why did Aaron and his sons need to be cleansed and set apart?  Although all the men from the tribe of Levi were dedicated for service to God, only Aaron’s descendants could be priests.  They alone had the honor and responsibility of performing the sacrifices.  These priests had to cleanse and dedicate themselves before they could help the people do the same.

Aaron and his sons were washed with water, clothed with special garments, and anointed with oil.  They placed their hands on a young bull as it was killed, and on two rams as they were killed.  This showed that holiness came from God alone, not from the priestly role.  Similarly, we are not spiritually cleansed because we have a religious position.  Spiritual cleansing comes only from God.  No matter how high our position or how long we have held it, we must depend on God for spiritual vitality.

Why were priests needed in Israel?  The Israelites were instructed to be a kingdom of priests; ideally they would all be holy and related to God.  But from the time of Adam’s fall, sin has separated man and God, and people have needed mediators to help them find forgiveness.  At first, the patriarchs–heads of households like Abraham and Job–were priests of the house or clan and made sacrifices for the family.  When the Israelites left Egypt, the descendants of Aaron were chosen to serve as priests for the nation.  The priests stood in the gap between God and man.  They were the full-time spiritual leaders and overseers of offerings.  The priestly system was a concession to people’s inability, because of sin, to confront and relate to God individually and corporately.  In Christ, this imperfect system was transformed.  Jesus Christ himself is our High Priest.  Now all believers can approach God through him. (NLT)

Leviticus 8:1-3 – The Lord said to Moses, “Now bring Aaron and his sons, along with their special clothing, the anointing oil, the bull for the sin offering, the two rams, and the basket of unleavened bread to the entrance of the Tabernacle.  Then call the entire community of Israel to meet you there.” 

* Outer cleanliness versus inner cleanliness 

Mark explained these Jewish rituals because he was writing to a non-Jewish audience.  Before each meal, devout Jews performed a short ceremony, washing their hands and arms in a specific way.  The disciples did not have dirty hands, but they were simply not carrying out this traditional cleansing.  The Pharisees thought this ceremony cleansed them from any contact they might have had with anything considered unclean.  Jesus said they were wrong in thinking they were acceptable to God just because they were clean on the outside.  (NLT)

Mark 7:3-4 – (The Jews, especially the Pharisees, do not eat until they have poured water over their cupped hands, as required by their ancient traditions.  Similarly, they eat nothing bought from the market unless they have immersed their hands in water.  This is but one of many traditions they have clung to–such as their ceremony of washing cups, pitchers, and kettles.)

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