Numbers 8:6: “Take the Levites from among the people of Israel and cleanse them. (ESV)
To be cleansed is to be washed from impurities. Before we approach God we need to experience cleansing. And there is cleansing available in the blood of Jesus. Jesus did not shed his blood on the cross for nothing, it was to make us acceptable to God (Revelation 1:5).
God is described as holy and we are to be holy as he is holy (1Peter 1:15-16). We need to be cleansed from impurities. When a disciple called Ananias was sent to Saul the persecutor of the church who had met Christ, he said that needed to be baptised and be washed from his sins (Acts 22:16). The fact of the outward cleansing with water was a manifestation of the inward work of the blood of Jesus in Paul’s life.
When a man Naaman needed to be cleansed from his leprosy, he same to Elisha who told him to go dip in river Jordan, but he did not want to make that journey (2Kings 5), but he eventually did. He would not be able to go if he does not approach the word that he heard with faith and humility.
The experience of that man is representative of the work of salvation. First we need to realise the need for cleansing from sin. Without the full cognizance of the need to be rid of sin, which is likened to leprosy, which we need to be cleansed from it, we will not seek help.
Remember that Naaman was highly placed, he was very important to the nation of Syria, he had accomplished much, but that did not take his leprosy away.
Though could remove his armour after coming from a battlefield, he could not remove his leprosy and lay it aside by his own effort. Though he could deal with many a mighty enemy of Syria, getting rid of them, he could not get rid of his leprosy.
Though he could strategize and come up with all manners of tactics to deal with the enemy of the nation, he could not come up with anything to cure himself of leprosy. This was a shame he bore privately. He could not help himself though a mighty man.
Similarly, we human beings, when it comes to sin, cannot help ourselves, and just as Naaman needed to get help outside his nation (he had to go somewhere else) there was no help for man on earth when it comes to sin, Jesus had to come from heaven.
Just as we need to come to Jesus, who represents another nation (an heavenly one) Naaman came and was healed by Elisha who did not collect anything from him.
The parallel is that in the salvation experience of Jesus, we can be saved without paying anything, what we need is a dip in the blood of Jesus by faith (as we come to him), just as Naaman took a dip in river Jordan. But what happened to Gehazi who tried to gain something from the event of Elisha healing Naaman? He got the leprosy which Naaman was cleansed from, and that is what happens to those who preach another gospel, it becomes their condemnation.
Just as it was only the river Jordan that was recommended for the cleansing of the general, it is only the name of Jesus given under heaven that we might be saved without payment (Acts 4:12).
The church is meant to be cleansed by the washing of water by the word (Ephesians 5:24-32). The bible says we are washed, our thought process is washed from filthy thinking, and we gain elevated thinking.
Paul said: we speak wisdom, not of this world not of the princes of the world which comes to not but the wisdom of God in a mystery (1Corinthians 2:1-7). That is elevated thinking, thinking in which we compare spiritual with spiritual. The wisdom of men is actually foolishness to God (1Corinthians 3:19). James wrote of the wisdom that comes from above saying that it is the peaceful, and pure, but that of the earth is demonic and self-seeking, it is contentious (James 3:15-16).
The process of cleansing involves removing the vestiges of the flesh from our mind. Paul told Timothy that God has not given him the Spirit of fear but of love, power and sound mind (2Timothy 1:6-7).
Fear clutters the mind, compromises the thinking processes, and shuts down creativity and the sense of initiative. With it no new thing can be done on the earth.
Paul wanted Timothy to experience cleansing from fear. There is no moving along with God when we are shackled with fear. God runs on faith and not on fear, and we are meant to walk with him, share his perspective which is never that of fear. God is not the author of confusion (1Corinthians 14:33); and fear and confusion, which are linked together, lead to taking the wrong action.
When King Saul was full of fear that the people were departing from him he offered the sacrifice he was not supposed to offer, and that was his undoing (1Samuel 13).
Paul said that instead of fear, God had given Timothy the Spirit of love, power and a sound mind. Love is purified motivation, power is purified ability, while a sound mind is purified thinking.
Sin has damaged us in those three areas: in our motivation, in our thinking and in our ability.
God made man to have dominion in the beginning and not to be dominated. That speaks of the inherent ability in man then.
Sin also damaged our thinking. Rather than think in God’s own frequency the imagination of the heart of men was evil continually. And without thinking like God we will not be able to walk with him, as Amos wrote: can two walk together expect they be agreed (Amos 3:3)?
Except there is oneness of purpose then we can be one in passion, and pursuit. The passion of God is typified by the fire of the Holy Spirit, it is his red burning zeal to actualise his own purpose and with a purified mind, we share his zeal and become zealous in his course. In a place in the book of Isaiah God said, when I had no one to assist me, my own arm brought salvation to me (Isaiah 63:1-6). We have a zeal for God and do not need supporters. We are self-motivated because we are fearless.
When we are purified in our heart (the place of motivation), we can offer acceptable sacrifices to God. The double-minded are called to purify their hearts (James 4:8).
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