The Cross of Christ and Cleansing.
There is a great danger of the soul who knows death union with Christ failing to see the value of cleansing.
Cleansing has to do with our walk with God.
Sin is not only a ruling principle but it is a defilement.
We must first be clear upon our basis of identification with Christ in death, or the evil nature will continually defile the soul in spite of our continual claiming of cleansing. Some souls know the blessing of cleansing, but are not able to maintain it, because they rest upon their experience rather than upon the Divine basis of union with Jesus Christ in death and resurrection. It is Christ’s death that causes the evil nature to cease its activity. As the believer abides by faith in Christ, the death of Christ cuts him off from bondage to sin as a master.
But the question arises,—"Is there need for cleansing if I abide in Christ and reckon myself dead indeed to sin?" Yes, because it is a faith attitude which you may fail to keep. Through lack of watchfulness you may yield to your evil nature and thus become defiled, hence the need for cleansing. Any sense of defilement will keep you away from the presence of God. It is not enough to say, "I am abiding in Christ’s death and therefore I am free."
Sin committed must be confessed to God and cleansed away by the application of the blood of Christ. The death of Christ was once for all, but the blood is for perpetual application.
This is typically shown in the Old Testament type of the red heifer (see Num. xix. 2-22). The heifer was slain; the ashes were kept for application in cases of defilement. There was one atoning sacrifice made for the sinner, but yet necessitating the application of the "ashes" when needed. So with the sacrifice of Christ.
No one ever gets to the place where he does not need to confess his sins, and claim the blood to cleanse.
Defilement may come from without as well as from within. Our contact with the world defiles us. The very moral atmosphere that we breathe is contaminating.
Cleanliness of heart and life is essential to communion and fellowship with God.
We learn this very clearly from Psalm xxiv. 3, 4—"Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully."
"CLEAN HANDS" refer to the things we touch.
In Numbers xix., we see that if a man "touched" any dead thing—whether intentionally, through neglect, or unconsciously—he became at once ceremonially unclean, and was cut off from the privilege of the redeemed worshipper.
This is a type of something far deeper than the physical. It points to God’s jealousy over His people’s lives, and shows how souls lose communion with God through touching that which is sinful in thought or deed.
Which of us can say that we never touch that which defiles us either consciously or unconsciously? Therefore there is need of a continual application of the blood of sprinkling.
"A PURE HEART." This has reference to the fountain whence spring the issues of life (see Prov. iv. 23 and Matt. xv. 18, 19).
Exceeding great and precious promises are given to us, "that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Pet. i. 4).
It is only in the divine nature that we can approach God; this divine nature should rule, and it can only rule as the old is kept on the cross by faith.
The cleansing of the Blood does not deal with our evil nature, but crucifixion does;—"knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him" (Rom. vi. 6, R.V.); "they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh" (Gal. v. 24).
But cleansing removes the defilement due to any activity of the evil nature, which severs communion and makes it impossible to "stand" before God. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matt. v. 8).
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 01: The Christian Life and Warfare, Chapter 14, by Watchman Nee)