Soap and Water
"No matter how poor you are, you can always afford SOAP and WATER"
These words were first spoken to me, about fifty years ago, by my "Nanny," and they have stuck with me ever since. (Nanny was an elderly Austrian lady who helped my mom to raise me from age 7 to 14.)
Years Later, while pastoring a small church in New York City, I remember taking my (then) 4 young children (ages 1-5) to the playground. It was a hot summer day, so they were glad that the sprinklers were on. After only a few minutes of watching them play in that cool, refreshing fountain of water, we noticed a homeless man (a city "Bum"), holding an old tattered paper bag, making his way toward that little fountain. Unsure of what would happen next, we called our children from the water, watching in amazement, as this man reached inside his bag and pulled out a bar of soap. Without regard for anyone else, he began washing, first, his face and hands, then, his upper body, and finally, his filthy clothes. (To be honest about it, after smelling his stench, I'm kind of glad he did!)
"How disgusting!" you say. You may be right, but one thing can be said. No matter what anyone's opinion is/was about what he did, He got clean the best way he knew how!
Something or someone told that man he needed to get clean outwardly. God, put something inside you and I that tells us we need to get clean inwardly. The Bible refers to this as a conscience. (Romans 2:15) Our conscience shows us our true inward condition. Like a "mirror of the heart," it helps us to detect dirt or SIN. If you take an honest look at yourself, dear friend, you too will have to admit, your "inward parts" (Psalms 51:5-6) are "dirty."
Since it is easier to detect dirt on the outside than sin on the inside, God, Who desires His Creation to be clean, gave us a second mirror to see our sin for what it really is. That mirror is the mirror of His word. (James 1:22-25) When we look inside the pages of The Holy Bible, it tells us the unmistakable TRUTH about our condition.
The prophet Isaiah said, "We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags...our iniquities...have taken us away." (Isaiah 64:6)
When a holy God looks at a man's heart, He sees filthy rags; iniquities; sins.
Jeremiah said, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)
Let's read what Jesus said man's true condition is...
"For from WITHIN, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, coveteousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from WITHIN, and defile the man." (Mark 7:21-23)
Even religious people are unclean...
"Then spake Jesus, 'Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees [religious people of His day], hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful OUTWARDLY, but are WITHIN full of dead men's bones, and all uncleanness. Even so ye OUTWARDLY appear righteous unto men, but WITHIN ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.'" (Matthew 23:1, 27-28)
These religious people were clean outside, but (they) didn't get the job done inside - where their sin was!
You may be asking yourself, "If religious people aren't saved, 'who then can be saved?'" (Luke 18:26) Here's the answer... ONLY THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN WASHED INWARDLY! The homeless man was not clean until the soap and water was applied to his body. A sinner is not clean until the blood of the Lamb is applied to his soul.
"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:6) Jesus willingly went to Calvary, to cleanse us, and wash us from our sins in his own blood. (Revelation 1:5) "For he [God] hath made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (II Corinthians 5:21)
Oh Sinner Friend, why not let this be the day you get clean. The Psalmist said, "Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin." (Psalms 51) Saint Paul said, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." (Titus 3:5)
"Wilt thou not be made clean?" (Jeremiah 13:27) Our only hope is the blood of Christ.
..."The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (I John 1:7)
Friend, Jesus is waiting to cleanse you and save your soul. Why not let Him, now?
..."For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13)
Pray this simple prayer with all your heart:
"Dear Jesus, I admit that I am an unclean sinner on my way to Hell. Please, forgive me, and save my soul. By faith, I now receive You as my Saviour; fully trusting Your cleansing blood to wash my sins away. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for giving me Eternal Life. Amen."
Soap and Water was written by Pastor Bob Leib
About thirty years later