Christ . . . loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.
The Word of God possesses the power to save us, to guide us, and to heal us. Fourth, the Word of God possesses the power to transform us. Last week, we saw that God has one purpose in your life. It is not that you have a fulfilling marriage, a full bank account, or a satisfying career. Romans 8:29 tells us what God’s will for your life is: “Those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.” God is using everything in your life, every tragedy and every triumph, to make you just like Jesus Christ.
How does God go about making you like Christ? We find the answer in Ephesians 5:25-27: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.”
Did you know you are going to be a part of a future wedding ceremony? It is going to happen at the rapture of the church when you and I, the bride of Christ, are reunited and connected to the groom, Jesus Christ. And right now, God is cleaning up the bride for the wedding ceremony. He is wiping away all the dirt and grime of sin, and He is getting you and me ready to meet Jesus Christ. And how does He make us presentable? Verse 26 says, “By the washing of water with the word.” In order to sanctify us, to make us more like Christ, God has to give us a spiritual bath.
“Washing of water” is a reference to the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is integral to making us like Jesus Christ. But the Holy Spirit alone will not accomplish that purpose. Let me illustrate that for you. Let’s say you are taking a hot shower, and the water feels great. But when you reach for a bar of soap, you realize there is no soap. Now, the water itself could do a lot for you. It makes you feel good. It is exhilarating. But water alone will not get you clean. It takes water and soap. It is the same thing in taking a spiritual bath. We need the washing of the Holy Spirit, but we also need spiritual soap. And Paul said that is the Word of God.
There are some Christians who emphasize only the Holy Spirit in the Christian life. For them, the Christian life is seeking one experience with the Holy Spirit after another. To these Christians, the Christian life is about exhilaration. But exhilaration alone will not make you like Jesus Christ. It takes the washing of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “How to Take a Spiritual Bath” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.