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”Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” John 15:3
Jesus stated that we are clean through the words of Christ - the words He spoke. The power of words is amazing. With words God created all that is - and He did in six literal days. With words people are build up or brought down. With words civilizations are built or destroyed.
Perhaps you have had the feeling of being “dirty” after being in place where foul language is used constantly [we tend to become desensitized if we hear it all the time]. The words of Christ can make us clean, they can be a bath from the filthiness of the world which seeks to bring us down to its level. As the saying goes, misery loves company.
Do the words of Jesus automatically make us clean? Yes and no. If we are in the right position they can be an instant bath. If we are in the wrong position then they bounce off of us without effect. Judas heard the same words that the rest of the disciples heard. What then is the right position?
First, we must be born again. We must have come under the cleansing flow of the Blood of Christ. We need to have experienced forgiveness and we need to be standing right before God [all of which happens at salvation]. Without that all the words of Christ are just foolishness.
Second, we need to know the words of Christ [which is the entire Bible not just the red letters!]. If we are not in the position of knowing the words of Christ then they can do us no good. This includes Bible study, meditation, and memorization. It is an important - and on-going - step but by itself it is not enough. History is full of people who knew the Word of God very well but were hard, cruel, and self-seeking. No one is more cruel that a religious person who thinks he is doing the will of God.
Third, we need to mix the words with faith. Faith believes the words of Christ and puts them into action. Faith without works is dead as James puts it. It is as the words become a part of who we are that they have a cleansing effect on our life. It is so easy to study the word of God or hear messages and say, ”That is what so-and-so really needs to hear. If they would do that then their life would really be straightened out.” The main application always has to be to ourselves.
Fourth, the entire context of this verse is abiding in Christ and He in us. We need an on-going, developing relationship with Jesus. As we walk with Him daily His words cleanse us.
So I honour you for your study of God’s Word, but don’t ever let it stop there. It must be mixed with faith and applied in our personal lives and then in our world to be cleansing and effective.