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Clean Hands, Pure Heart

In the world we live in today, we realize how important it is to have clean hands. It is life or death in some cases.

In the world we live in today, we realize how important it is to have clean hands. It is life or death in some cases. In the physical, we wash our hands with soap to kill germs, therefore, stopping infection or contamination. “However, the spiritual (immortal life) is not first, but the physical (the mortal life) then the spiritual,” (1 Cor.15:46). Spiritually, the Lord wants us to have clean hands as well. “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the Lord, And righteousness from the God of his salvation,”(Psalms 24:4-5).

     Merriam-Webster Dictionary states that clean means free from dirt or pollution, contamination, or disease. Of a precious stone; having no interior flaws visible. Free from moral corruption or sinister connections of any kind; from violations; ceremonially or spiritually pure. The word clean in Hebrew means to be innocent, blameless, free, or guiltless.

     We use our hands in a variety of ways; whether by working or playing, pushing or pulling, or to write and to hold. But how do we cleanse our hands unto the Lord? “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? He is like a refiner’s fire and launders’ soap,” (Mal.3:2). When cleaning with soap, the object is either made white or bright. It also brings forth purity and moral cleanliness. How is He going to clean us? What is this refiner’s fire? Let us look deeper into this process.

      When we first came to Jesus we came with dirty hands. Not knowing the process to become clean or purified, we became calloused, cracked, and hard. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going,” (Eccles. 9:10). 

     We put our hands to work and in that they became tough. Repeatedly scraping our hands, we developed a hard layer of skin so that we did not feel the pain, developing calluses. Calluses became a protective mechanism on our skin, not only on our hands, but on our hearts as well. “FOR THIS NATION’S HEART HAS GROWN HARD, AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY HARDLY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE [tightly] CLOSED THEIR EYES, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEARTS, AND TURN [to Me] AND I WOULD HEAL THEM [spiritually],”  [1].

    Seeing this in the physical realm is easy, but how does this look in the spiritual realm? Why does the Lord want us to have clean hands and a pure heart anyways? Merriam-Webster Dictionary states that pure means to be free from dust, dirt, or taint; free from moral fault or guilt, ritually clean.

     The Lord never wanted us to have unclean hands and a hardened heart. He never wanted us to take on heavy burdens. 

 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls,” (Matt 11:29). So, how does one become clean? We can see there is a deeper meaning in the scriptures than just the literal interpretation. When we are washed in the Word, meaning when we receive revelation and understanding of what is being said through the symbolisms, we are being cleansed. The dirt and grime within our souls is being washed away and we are becoming clean, bright, and pure. Eph. 5:26 says, “that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word”. 

     The word is active and alive.

“For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart,” (Heb.4:12). 

    When the Word which is Jesus comes into our soul it begins to take away the calluses, the hardness is being removed and we are becoming clean and pure. It is a process. The more revelation we receive and the more we understand, the cleaner we are becoming.

“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies”, (Matt 15:18-19). Our heart and mind are connected, they are as one. 

  We have to change our mindset, the way we think and perceive. Once that happens, we start to take on His godly character; the process has started. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord,” (2 Cor. 3:18).

 “Blessed [anticipating God’s presence, spiritually mature] are the pure in heart [those with integrity, moral courage, and godly character], for they will see God,” (Matt 5:8).

  Clement, an early church father states:  

“Those, therefore, who imitate Christ, imitate Him earnestly. For those who have ‘put on Christ’ (Rom 13:14) in truth, express His likeness in their thoughts, and in their whole life, and in all their behaviour: in word, and in deeds, and in patience, and in fortitude, and in knowledge, and in chastity, and in long-suffering, and in a pure heart, and in faith, and in hope, and in full and perfect love towards God. God is seen by the mind, not by the body; by the spirit, not by the flesh,” [1].

    We can not do this in our own strength. It is only through the Holy Spirit that this is made possible. Origen, an early church father states, “But as the strength of our will is not sufficient to procure the perfectly pure heart, and as we need that God should create it, he, therefore, who prays as he ought, offers this petition to God, ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God,

 (Psalm 51:10)’” [2].

      Origen also says: 

“For he knew that there were within us two kinds of senses: the one mortal, corruptible, human; the other immortal and intellectual, which he now termed divine. By this divine sense, therefore, not of the eyes, but of a pure heart, which is the mind, God may be seen by those who are worthy. For you will certainly find in all the Scriptures, both old and new, the term “heart” repeatedly used instead of “mind,” i.e., intellectual power. In this manner, therefore, although far below the dignity of the subject, have we spoken of the nature of God, as those who understand it under the limitation of the human understanding,” [3].

  Let us be found worthy so we can see God. Let us be teachable to the secrets and the mysteries so we can become cleansed by the Word, Jesus himself. Let our hearts seek Him with love and a passion for the truth. Let us discover who we are in Him with clean hands and a pure heart. 

References:
1. Early Church Father, Clement- Recognitions Book 3 1-49.
2. Early Church Father, Origen- Against Celsus Book 7 – Ch 29-53
3. Early Church Father, Origen – De Principiis Book 1 – Ch 1
4. Merriam- Webster Dictionary
5. All scripture reference from NKJV or AMP Bible versions

Keywords:
Clean hands
Clean hands meaning
Pure heart
Pure heart meaning
Spiritual meaning


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