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It was one very hot day, and my granddaughter and I were watching some horses. One-by-one they made their way to the little pond to take in some more water. Then this big old grey horse decided drinking wasn't enough. He didn't just get a little of the pond in him, he got into the pond and lay down in the water. He splashed around a little, stayed there for a while and finally pulled his big old body out of the water. Relating what she saw to her world, my granddaughter said, "He's taking a bath!" If that was his intention, I had bad news for that horse. He got out of that murky water with his light gray coat covered with dirt! So much for getting clean!
No matter where you go in the world, no matter how primitive or advanced the culture, we humans have this sense in our soul that we have a problem with the Creator who put us here. In a sense, that's the reason most people practice whatever their religion is; to somehow do something to put us on God's good side to avoid whatever punishment we may deserve for the wrong things we've done. All of us have things we wish we hadn't done and things we know we should have done. We feel the guilt; we feel the shame of things that we thought we would never do; of things we've done that hurt other people - often people we love.
You might say we know we're dirty inside and that we'd better do something to get clean before we meet the Creator who decides our forever. The Bible tells the story of a military leader named Naaman who came down with terminal leprosy: corrosive spots all over his body. He was directed to God's prophet for a cure. He wanted to buy a cure. No way. He wanted to do something noble to be cured. No way, the prophet said. He told him to wash seven times in the muddy waters of the Jordan River.
Naaman was enraged. There were nicer rivers back home that he wanted to wash in. But there was only one way to get cured and get clean...wash where God said to wash. In the Bible's words, he did "as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy" (2 Kings 5:1-16).
We're all Naaman. We want to get right with God the way we want to get right with God: through doing good, through practicing our religion, through personal spirituality. But it's all water that can't make us clean. Here's why recorded in our word for today from the Word of God in Hebrews 9:22, "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." Sin is punishable by spiritual death. That is eternal separation from a sinless God. So only a death can pay for it. That's why all the religious water in the world will leave you unforgiven and unable to enter God's heaven.
A few verses later, God explains where our only hope really is. He says Jesus died "...to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (Hebrews 9:26). Only Jesus, the only sinless man that ever lived, could die in our place. And He loves you so much that He did - on an awful cross.
So, we have to come to God through the only way He's provided - His Son. Jesus alone can make you clean inside and right before a holy God. Jesus alone can get you into heaven. Not Christianity, not church, but Jesus. No other "water" can make you clean, however sincere your efforts to get clean. If you could have gotten clean any other way, believe me, God would have never put His Son through that brutal crucifixion.
You have a decision to make: the ultimate life-or-death decision. Will you put your total trust in what Jesus did to pay for your sins on the cross? Or will you put your hope in something else? The outcomes of that decision are heaven or hell, and God leaves it to you to choose. If you're ready to abandon all other hopes and hold onto Jesus like a drowning person would embrace a rescuer, would you tell Him that right now, right where you are? At that moment every wrong thing you've ever done will be forgiven by God and erased from His book. And your name will be entered in His "book of life" - the people who are going to be in heaven.
I would love to have you visit our website today and read a brief explanation there of how to be sure you've begun your relationship with Jesus. The website is YoursForLife.net.
Sin can't be repaid. It has to be removed. And Jesus stands ready to do that for you this very day, and you will be clean.