“God strengthens and uses those with clean hands” Bill Gallatin
The Lord is the One who cleans us all. We approach the cross of Christ in a state of filthy unworthiness. Even the kindest and gentlest people we know all fall short of the glory and holiness of God on their own merit. God’s standards of holiness are high above anything achievable by human nature alone. But through Christ and the gift of faith, each of us is given God’s own righteousness. This is something we could never hope to achieve on our own.
No longer separated from God by sin, He has reconciled each of us to Himself through Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross and resurrection from the dead on the third day.
18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation…21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:18,21 NKJV
God grants us His righteousness and makes us clean. But it doesn’t take us too long after this to figure out that there are still many human imperfections and shortcomings in my character, and that these will eventually show up in my thoughts, words, and actions.
The prophet Isaiah pointed out to Israel some of the ways that we fall short of God’s glory, and these can still cause a root of bitterness in our hearts today. While we may not have actual blood on our hands, Jesus pointed out in the Sermon on the Mount that anger at a sister or brother can be regarded in the Lord’s eyes as the same as us committing a physical act of violence against them. Iniquity, or wicked thoughts and desires, can be hidden from others in our hearts but can never be hidden from God.
2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
So that He will not hear.
3 For your hands are defiled with blood,
And your fingers with iniquity;
Your lips have spoken lies,
Your tongue has muttered perversity.
4 No one calls for justice,
Nor does any plead for truth.
They trust in empty words and speak lies;
They conceive evil and bring forth iniquity. Isaiah 59:2-4 NKJV
The Lord sees the evil in the hearts of His people, and it does displease Him. But we bring these to the cross of Christ in faith, seeking and receiving His forgiveness for them. As additional sins crop up, will people of faith lose our salvation over them? No. No one is perfect and without sin, and we all need a daily cleansing as we confess our sins before God. He will forgive us as we seek to turn away from our wrongs and to forgive those who wrong us, as well.
Because of peoples’ lack of success in following His moral commandments on our own, God tells us through Isaiah that He had decided to do something about it Himself. He decided to become the sacrifice for our sin in the person of His righteous, only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the foundation of God’s ministry of reconciliation with us. He would bring His own righteousness to us for His eternal glory and our eternal salvation.
15 …Then the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him
That there was no justice.
16 He saw that there was no man,
And wondered that there was no intercessor;
Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him;
And His own righteousness, it sustained Him. Isaiah 59:15-16 NKJV
Only in Christ are we made holy enough to dwell forever with a holy God. But in the meantime, as we live out the days God has ordained for us here, we wash the iniquity from our hands through Christ so that He can use us to build up His kingdom on earth.
God is able to use anything in the universe, living or inanimate, to achieve His will and His purpose. But He likes to use people to get things done. When we are walking with clean hands, forgiven and cleansed, and seek to do the will of the Father, He can do great and wonderful things through us. May this touch the lives of others and bring them great blessings of eternal consequence.
Lord, help me to keep clean hands in You today. Forgive me for the failures that I bring to You for pardon, help me to forgive those who commit an offense against me, and use me to perform Your will and divine purpose today. I want to be pleasing to You. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.