The best laundry detergent in the world cannot remove the stain of sin. It takes the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son. That is the process David describes in Psalm 51.
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of they tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Psalm 51:1, 2 & 7
The idea of purging appears again in Isaiah 1:25 where God says, “And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin:” Purging was not only used by the person who did the laundry; it was referred to as a process used by refiners as well. Malachi 3:3 says, “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”
When the Bible talks about purging something that is unnecessary or something that is impure out of our lives, it illustrates it with the process by which gold, silver, and other precious metals are purified. Ore, dug out of the earth, has impurities and less valuable metals mingling with the gold or silver. That must be removed before it is valuable and useful. Because God is filled with mercy and truth, He places us in the crucible of affliction and turns the heat up on our lives.
The Pressures of Life – God’s Loving Refinement
When God turns up the heat on your life and puts you under pressure, the dross comes to the surface. Have you responded to something and been surprised by what you said or did? Put in the right situation, you will say things that you never though you would say. Where does that come from? It comes from the inside heart of man having been brought to the surface by pressure.
Pressure Purifies Us
We tend to think that if God loved us, He would not allow us to experience so much pressure; but in reality, God’s love is why He puts us in those situations. God, in His mercy and in His truth, is so committed to seeing us be pure and clean and white that He brings the pressure. God wants to bring the dross to the surface so that we will deal with it and remove it from our life.
We see the concept of purging again in an agricultural setting. Matthew 3:12 says, “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Wheat is a wonderful and useful grain, but it comes encased in chaff which is completely worthless. The process of purging the wheat removes that which is unnecessary and unproductive so that only the good remains. In Bible times, wheat was threshed—literally beaten with sticks to knock the chaff loose. I am sure that if a grain of wheat could talk, it would have said something like, “Whoa! I don’t like this winnowing. It hurts when those sticks hit me. Somebody make this stop!”
By Mercy & Truth…
Purging is the result of God’s mercy and truth. I am convinced that much of our praying is spent asking God to take away things He has sent into our lives to make us more like His Son. The next time you endure painful circumstances or difficult situations, instead of trying to get out, look for something God is trying to purge from your life to make you more valuable and useful to Him.