Deep Cleaning (2 Cor 7:1)

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1, KJV)

We live in a world where things get dirty. As a young boy, I had two pair of khaki trousers. Mom would purchase another pair for me when the one would become threadbare and have hole in the knees that were not reparable. I wore the tar out of these trousers. The weird thing was that I would wear the same pair every day until my mom or grandmom would say, “Those pants are starting to stand up on their own.” They meant that the pants were getting so soiled that if I took them off, they could be stood up in a corner of the room as though someone was still in them. It was time for a deep cleaning.

The question was, “How did they get so dirty?” The answer is obvious. I was playing in them all week long and the dirt outside got into the weave of the material of which they were made. Not only that, but my most valued treasures were in my pockets. They occasionally called me “pockets.” I had things like a few pieces of change, a pocket knife, and a real rabbit’s food that my uncle took off one when he was small game hunting. Moreover, like most kids in those days without air-conditioning, even playing inside, we sweated a lot in the Summer. The sweat, dirt, and other stuff soiled my garments. So, the pants became very dirty. They needed to be cleaned inside and out.

Paul wrote to the Corinthians about deep cleaning. However, it was not physical dirt that bothered him. It was spiritual dirt. Of course, the Corinthians picked it up the same way our clothes get physically dirty. There were internal and external things that caused the problem. It was a combination of the flesh and the system of the world. The world system is that set of rules instituted by the devil that cater to the fleshly appetites of the flesh.

It is interesting that Paul wrote, “let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.” He did not write to the Corinthians in the third-person plural, “you cleanse yourselves.” He wrote in the first-person plural, “let us cleanse ourselves.” This indicates a universal request for every believer, including Paul and his team. It includes us today, whether we are mature believers or new believers in Jesus. Because believers live in a world run by the devil’s rules and struggle with their own fleshly desires, they can pick up the defilement of the world at times without realizing it. Thus, every believer needs to do a deep cleaning.

Paul gave some key points in the process of this cleansing. First, he tells the church to consider the awesome promises of God. These he referenced from the Old Testament in the previous verses. He wrote, that God would be with believers in a close and intimate way, that they are His people, and that they are His sons and daughters. This is the promise of an intimate relationship with God and all the blessings of being in His forever family. In consideration of these awesome promises, believers should cleanse themselves from every form of defilement, both external and internal. It will include the actions that are aligned with the word along with the attitudes and thoughts that come from within.

All believers should take time to prayerfully examine themselves to see what falls short of holiness in their lives. After doing so, the process is to confess sin and to repent from it. Consider the prayer of the Psalmist. “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23–24, KJV)

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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