Chapter 19 deals with ceremonial washings that were to be observed by the priests before they could approach God’s residence. Although we are all called “priests” according to the New Testament economy and we have only one mediator now, the Lord Christ Jesus himself, we should still consider the important lesson we learn from this passage concerning cleanliness. I do not suggest that we should worry about our external ritual cleanliness, but we should take to heart what God wants us to know about being holy people. Paul instructs the Corinthians and us to “cleanse ourselves of all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1).

The regular routine associated with that is important. 1 John 1:9 teaches us that “if we confess our sins, God is faithful to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” For the Old Testament priests an innocent animal had to die to provide ritual cleansing. But for you and me, the very son of God, himself, had to die to provide for our cleansing. Confessing our sins to God, through our faith in the Sacrifice of His Son Jesus, provides cleansing for us.

James gives us another dimension of confession. In John we exhorted to confess to God so that we’ll be forgiven and cleansed. James tells us to confess our sins to each other “so that we may be healed.” Confession, spiritual washing, provides cleanliness before God and in our relationship with others. It is so good to feel clean!