Cleanliness is Next to Godliness?
Most of us have heard the saying "cleanliness is next to godliness". While this statement is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible, it does convey an important truth, that cleanliness is a necessary and beneficial habit. What does cleanliness mean and how does it benefit us?
First, the meaning of cleanliness is simple, it is "the quality or state of being clean: the practice of keeping oneself or one's surroundings clean" (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).
Benefits of Cleanliness:
When we maintain hygienic habits it helps keep our bodies free from harmful toxins and diseases. We need to be exposed to some germs to strengthen our immune systems, but if we have poor hygiene habits, we are creating a breeding ground for bacteria and germs that develop into serious and deadly diseases. For example, unhygienic teeth health can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and leads to respiratory and heart disease. God tells us to honor Him by keeping our body, His temple, clean.
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
2) Freedom from Sin's Bondage
When we are not only physically clean but spiritually clean we are free from the chains of sin and able to live a godly life. As born-again believers, we now have a new cover, the blood of Jesus, which cleanses us from all of the stains and dirt sin causes. Now whenever God looks at us, He doesn't see the filthiness of our past but sees us through His Son's righteousness. We still make mistakes and sin but as true followers of Christ, when we sin we repent whole-heartedly and are forgiven. No more living in sin or being a slave to it, instead, we are living free from sin and daily seeking to obey and walk with God. Our cleansed heart and soul then radiate Jesus' light on the outside, when others look at us they should see the love and mercy of God and notice a difference between our lives and the lives of non-believers.
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. - James 4:7-10
Cleanliness is an important daily practice that should not only be implemented in our hygiene routine but also in our spiritual life. We in of ourselves cannot be clean nor cleanse our sins, but when we come to God with a humble heart and repent, God forgives us and cleanses us completely. Our sin is no longer a part of us or written in our life's book, but blotted out and forgotten. We still have to face the consequences of our sin, sin always comes with a price, but we will not have to face the judgment of sin! What a merciful blessing! These days, as time is getting closer and closer to our Savior's return, we need to repent of all our sins, ask God to forgive us of the evil's hidden in our hearts, and make sure we are cleansed and ready to meet our Savior. Now is the time to walk with God instead of the world, to proclaim His name to the lost, and to live a life that is pleasing and honoring to God so when you meet Him, He will say "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21).
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. - 2 Corinthians 7:1