“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
Cleanse your hands,
James’ fourth imperative is “cleanse your hands.” The word “cleanse” means to make free from admixture, to purify. The idea is to remove something for the purpose of purification. Old Testament priests washed their hands before approaching the presence of God in the Tabernacle (Ex 30:19-21). James wants believers to wash their dirty “hands.” Spiritually, we wash our hands in the blood of Christ when we confess our sins, His finished work of paying for our sins.
2 Co 7:1 “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
Believers who are “sinners” must cleanse themselves before they can have fellowship with God. We cannot fellowship with God (draw near) without confession of sin.
Consistency with God’s character is the ground of concord with Him.
Those who continually confess their sin may walk with the Lord. If we do not confess our sins, it may be because of guilt. We do not feel worthy to fellowship with the Lord. Sin cannot stand in the presence of God. We must not allow guilt get in the way of trust in the blood of Christ to forgive us.
Mt 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.”
1 Jn 3:3 “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
Hi Grant–Once again please know I have appreciated content in your verse by verse commentary.
I have a question on this one. . . how do you reconcile the thought in this bible study that we can not “draw near” to God without confession of sin? I know that it says in Romans 6 that we are not to go on sinning that grace may abound and acknowledge the truth of God’s word in 1John 1:9. And yet as I have read some of your other studies about God’s faithfulness to finish what He has begun in us–and noted you to have quoted Romans 5:10–it would seem to me that this scripture communicates that it was God who reconciled us while we were enemies–and to me believing this truth that it is what God has done that brought about this reconciliation–to me even when He would need to discipline me and allow me to know where sin in my life is grieving him and hurting me and perhaps others–I can come to Him as I am and be “saved by His life” as He convicts me in His prescence and I recieve His cleansing as His child.
Thanks for your comments, Deb.
You are right in that God stands reconciled by the death of Christ as a substitute for our sins. Our confession does not reconcile us. We have positional reconcilation but we must apply what we have positionally to experience. We do this by confession. Confession is a matter of fellowship, not our relationship to God. Note a debate that I had with someone on 1 Jn 1:9 by going to that verse.
Very well put, Grant. I am so glad Christ reconcilled be to God and that He provided a way to restore me to fellowship when sin breaks that communion.