Friday, December 23, 2011

When the Unclean Becomes Clean

(En Español)

There are unfathomable mysteries concerning the Messiah's entrance into our world, realities that are beyond our powers of comprehension: His divine conception, the manifestation of the angelic hosts, the miraculous star that led the wise men, etc. Yet, one reality strikes me as most profound: of all places where the Son of God might have been born, His birth came in the uncleanness of a stable.

With myriads of angels at the Almighty's command, we might assume the world's Creator would have orchestrated better accommodations, perhaps the home of a rich man or more appropriately, a king. Yet the staging of Christ's birthplace was prophetic of His life and purpose. Indeed, when I contemplate the message broadcast in the birthplace of Christ, I realize that He who was born in the uncleanness of a stable is not offended or repulsed by the uncleanness in me or you.

The Union of the Clean with the Unclean
As a backdrop to the issue of Christ's birthplace, consider: the Old Testament had over 250 references to clean and unclean things. In all cases the principle is the same: when something (or someone) clean is touched by the unclean, that which was clean is contaminated by the unclean. The fact is, cleanliness was directly associated with the holiness of God in scores of verses in the book of Leviticus.

Certain health conditions could render a person unclean, such as skin diseases or a woman's issue of blood. When one was unclean, they were required to stay away from their community until their condition changed and their restored health was verified by a priest. Lepers and others with contagious skin diseases were not only categorically unclean but in public were required to ring a bell while calling in a loud voice, "Unclean! Unclean!" to warn others (Lev. 13:45).

However, when Christ came upon lepers, He did not back away; rather, He touched and healed them! The unclean became clean! Beloved, with the Messiah, the entire principle of clean and unclean is reversed! Jesus, who is clean, does not become unclean by touching us; we become clean by touching Him! Just as the Lord affirmed to Peter, "What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy" (Acts 10:15).
Many people do not accept Christ simply because they are too aware of their inner uncleanness. Yet once we accept Christ, the indwelling of Christ not only washes us, but His presence makes us holy. Do you see? We are holy because He is holy. We are clean because His blood and His word cleanse us. We can never become clean until Christ comes to dwell in our spirits. He says, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me" (John 13:8).

This season, regardless of the uncleanness you feel inwardly, open your heart to Christ. Let the Redeemer enter. He who emerged in our world in a stable will not be offended at your need. Let His cleanness cleanse and heal that which is unclean within you.
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