A WORD FROM THE BELOVED'S OWN MOUTH
"And ye are clean."óJohn 13:10.
Gideon's fleece was full of dew so that he could wring out the moisture, so
will a text sometimes be when the Holy Spirit deigns to visit His servants
through its words. This utterance of our Saviour to His disciples has been
as a wafer made with honey to our taste, and we doubt not it may prove
equally as sweet to others.
carefully, dear friends, what the eulogium is which is here passed
upon the Lord's beloved disciples: "Ye are clean." This is the primeval
blessing, so soon lost by our first parents. This is the virtue, the loss of
which shut man out of Paradise, and continues to shut men out of heaven. The
want of cleanness in heart and hands condemns sinners to banishment from
God, and defiles all their offerings. To be clean before God is the desire
of every penitent, and the highest aspiration of the most advanced believer.
It is what all the ceremonies and ablutions of the law can never bestow and
what Pharisees with all their pretensions cannot attain. To be clean is to
be as the angels are, as glorified saints are, yea, as the Father Himself
with the Lord, safety, happiness, and every blessing, always go with
cleanness of heart, and he that hath it cannot miss of heaven. It seems too
high a condition to be ascribed to mortals, yet, by the lips of Him who
could not err, the disciples were said, without a qualifying word, or adverb
of degree, to be "clean"; that is to say, they were perfectly justified in
the sight of eternal equity, and were regarded as free from every impurity.
Dear friends, is this blessing yours? Have you ever believed unto
righteousness? Have you taken the Lord Jesus to be your complete cleansing,
your sanctification, your redemption? Has the Holy Spirit ever sealed in
your peaceful spirit the gracious testimony, "ye are clean "? The assurance
is not confined to the apostles, for ye also are "complete in Him," "perfect
in Christ Jesus," if ye have indeed by faith received the righteousness of
God. The psalmist said, "Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow;" if you
have been washed, you are even to that highest and purest degree clean
before the Lord, and clean now. Oh, that all believers would live up to
their condition and privilege; but alas! too many are pining as if they were
still miserable sinners, and forgetting that they are in Christ Jesus
forgiven sinners, and therefore ought to be happy in the Lord. Remember,
beloved believer, that, as one with Christ, you are not with sinners in the
gall of bitterness, but with the saints in the land which floweth with milk
cleanness is not a thing of degrees, it is not a variable or vanishing
quantity, it is present, abiding, perfect, you are clean through the Word,
through the application of the blood of sprinkling to the conscience, and
through the imputation of the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then
lift up your head, and sing for joy of heart, seeing that your transgression
is pardoned, your sin is covered, and in you Jehovah seeth not iniquity.
Dear friends, let not another moment pass till by faith in Jesus you have
grasped this privilege. Be not content to believe that the priceless boon
may be had, but lay hold upon it for yourself. You will find the song of
substitution a choice song if you are able to sing it.
"In my Surety I am free,
His dear hands were pierced for me;
With his spotless vesture on
Holy as the Holy One."
of the force of the sentence before us lies in the Person praising .
To be certified as clean by the blind priests of Rome, would be small
comfort to a true Christian. To receive the approving verdict of our
fellow-men is consoling, but it is after all of small consequence. The human
standard of purity is itself grossly incorrect, and therefore to be judged
by it is but a poor trial, and to be acquitted a slender comfort; but the
Lord Jesus judges no man after the flesh, He came forth from God, and is
Himself God, infinitely just and good, hence His tests are accurate, and His
verdict is absolute. I wot whom He pronounces clean is clean indeed. Our
Lord was omniscient, He would have at once detected the least evil in His
disciples; if there had remained upon the man unpardoned sin, He must have
seen it; if any relic of condemnation had lingered upon them, He must have
detected it at once, no speck could have escaped His all-discerning eye; yet
did He say without hesitation of all but Judas, "Ye are clean."
they did not catch the full glory of this utterance; possibly they missed
much of that deep joyous meaning, which is now revealed to us by the Spirit;
otherwise, what bliss to have heard with their own ears from those sacred
lips, so plain, so positive, so sure a testimony to their character before
God! Yet our hearts need not be filled with regret because we cannot hear
that ever-blessed voice with these our earthly ears, for the testimony of
Jesus in the Word is quite as sure as the witness of His lips when He spoke
among the sons of men, and that testimony is, "Whosoever believeth is
justified from all things." Yes, it is as certain as if you, dear friends,
heard the Redeemer Himself speak, that you are free from all condemning sin
if you are looking with your whole heart to Jesus only as your all in all.
What a joy is yours and mine! He who is to judge the world in righteousness
has Himself affirmed us to be clean. By how much the condemnation of guilt
is black and terrible, by so much the forgiveness of sin is bright and
comforting. Let us rejoice in the Lord, whose indisputable judgment has
given forth a sentence so joyous, so full of glory.
"Jesus declares me clean,
Then clean indeed I am,
However guilty I have been,
I'm cleans'd;through the Lamb.
"His lips can never lie,
His eye is never blind,
If he acquit, I can defy
All hell a fault to find."
may cheer us to call to mind the persons praised. They were not
cherubim and seraphim, but men, and notably they were men compassed with
infirmity. There was Peter, who a few minutes after was forward and
presumptuous; and, indeed, it is not needful to name them one by one, for
they all forsook their Master, and fled in His hour of peril. Not one among
them was more than a mere child in grace; they had little about them that
was apostolic except their commission, they were very evidently men of like
passions with us; yet their Lord declared them to be clean, and clean they
were. Here is good cheer for those souls who are hungering after
righteousness, and pining because they feel so much of the burden of in
dwelling sin; for cleanliness before the Lord is not destroyed by our
infirmities, nor prevented by our inward temptations. We stand in the
righteousness of Another. No measure of personal weakness, spiritual
anxiety, soul conflict, or mental agony can mar our acceptance in the
Beloved. We may be weak infants, or wandering sheep in ourselves, and for
both reasons we may be very far from what we wish to be; but, as God sees
us, we are viewed as washed in the blood of Jesus, and we, even we, are
clean every whit.
a forcible expression, "clean every whit;" every inch, from every point of
view, in all respects, and to the uttermost degree! Dear friend, if a
believer, this fact is true to you, even to you. Hesitate not to
drink, for it is water out of your own cistern, given to you in the covenant
of grace. Think not that it is presumption to believe the Word, marvellous
though it be. You are dealing with a wonderful Saviour, who only doeth
wonderful things, therefore stand not back on account of the greatness of
the blessing, but rather believe the more readily because the Word is so
like to everything the Lord doeth or speaketh. Yet when thou hast believed
for thyself, and cast every doubt to the wind, thou wilt not wonder less,
but more, and it will be thy never-ceasing cry, "Whence is this to me?" How
is it that I, who wallowed with swine, should be made pure as the angels?
Delivered from the foulest guilt, is it indeed possible that I am made the
possessor of a perfect righteousness? Sing, O heavens, for the Lord hath
done it, and He shall have everlasting praise!
"Yes, thou, my soul, e'en thou art clean,
The Lord has wash'd thee white as snow,
In spotless beauty thou art seen,
And Jesus hath pronounced thee so.
"Despite thy conflicts, doubts, and fears,
Yet art thou still in Christ all fair,
Haste then to wipe away thy tears,
And make His glory all thy care."
time when the praise was given is not without instruction. The word of
loving judgment is in the present tense, "Ye are clean." It is not,
"ye were clean," that might be a rebuke for purity shamelessly sullied, a
condemnation for wilful neglect, a prophecy of wrath to come; neither is it,
"ye might have been clean," that would have been a stern rebuke for
privileges rejected, and opportunities wasted; nor is it even, "ye shall be
clean," though that would have been a delightful prophecy of good things to
come at some distant period; but ye are clean, at this moment, in this room,
and around this table. Though but just then Peter had spoken so rudely, yet
he was even then clean.
comfort is here amid our present sense of imperfection! Our cleanness is a
matter of this present hour, we are, just here in our present condition and
our position, "clean every whit." Why then postpone joy? The cause of it is
in possession, let the mirth be even now overflowing. Much of our heritage
is certainly future, but if there were no other boon tangible to faith in
this immediate present, this one blessing alone should awaken all our powers
to the highest praise. Are we even now clothed with the fair white linen
which is the righteousness of saints? Yes, 'tis even so, foró
"We are wash'd in Jesu's blood,
We're pardon'd through His name;
And the good Spirit of our God
Has sanctified our frame."
Then let us sing a new song unto Jehovah-Tsidkenu, the Lord our
the Holy Ghost now bear witness with every believer, "and ye are clean."
"Then may your souls rejoice and sing,
Then may your voices sweetly ring,
For if your souls through Christ are clear,
What cause have you to faint or fear?"
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