Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | August 4, 2014

“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”

Today’s devotion comes from Numbers Chapter 19.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Numbers+19&version=NASB

I quote the following verses.

“1 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 2 “This is the statute of the law which the Lord has commanded, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel that they bring you an unblemished red heifer in which is no defect and on which a yoke has never been placed.  3 You shall give it to Eleazar the priest, and it shall be brought outside the camp and be slaughtered in his presence.  4 Next Eleazar the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger and sprinkle some of its blood toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times.  5 Then the heifer shall be burned in his sight;  its hide and its flesh and its blood, with its refuse, shall be burned.  6 The priest shall take cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet material and cast it into the midst of the burning heifer.  7 The priest shall then wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward come into the camp, but the priest shall be unclean until evening.  8 The one who burns it shall also wash his clothes in water and bathe his body in water, and shall be unclean until evening.  9 Now a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and deposit them outside the camp in a clean place, and the congregation of the sons of Israel shall keep it as water to remove impurity;  it is purification from sin.  …

20 ‘But the man who is unclean and does not purify himself from uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, because he has defiled the sanctuary of the Lord;  the water for impurity has not been sprinkled on him, he is unclean.”  Numbers Chapter 19:  Verses 1-9 and 20.

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In today’s Scripture, “water to remove impurity;  it is purification from sin” (verse 9) points to the water provided by Christ.

“… 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.”  Ephesians 5:25-27.

“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”  Hebrews 10:19-22.

“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;  in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.  Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.”  1 Peter 3:18-22.

“This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ;  not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood.  It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.  For there are three that testify:  the Spirit and the water and the blood;  and the three are in agreement.”  1 John 5:6-8.

Here is how the Heidelberg Catechism shows the Spirit and the water and the blood are in agreement.

Question 69.  How art thou admonished and assured by holy baptism, that the one sacrifice of Christ upon the cross is of real advantage to thee?

Answer.  Thus:  That Christ appointed this external washing with water, adding thereto this promise, that I am as certainly washed by his blood and Spirit from all the pollution of my soul, that is, form all my sins, as I am washed externally with water, by which the filthiness of the body is commonly washed away.

Question 70.  What is it to be washed with the blood and Spirit of Christ?

Answer.  It is to receive of God the remission of sins, freely, for the sake of Christ’s blood, which he shed for us by his sacrifice upon the cross;  and also to be renewed by the Holy Ghost, and sanctified to be members of Christ, that so we may more and more die unto sin, and lead holy and unblamable lives.

Question 71.  Where has Christ promised us, that he will as certainly wash us by his blood and Spirit, as we are washed with the water of baptism?

Answer.  In the institution of baptism, which is thus expressed: “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” “he that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved;  but he that believeth not, shall be damned.”   This promise is also repeated, where the scripture calls baptism the washing of regeneration, and the washing away of sins.

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