Sometimes taking a shower is really great and I look forward to it. Other times it’s a nuisance or a necessary evil. Maybe I’m very tired or in a hurry, or I just don’t feel like it. But, I still get dirty and need to shower or bathe even when I don’t want to. In fact, you can lie in bed and do nothing but you will still get dirty and need to be cleaned up, even if someone else has to do it for you.
It’s interesting that the physical side of the flesh produces odious and undesirable results without any effort on our part. In fact, we can think all we want about not getting dirty, but if we don’t “wash and be clean” we will still end up stinking.
Paul said that internally he experienced the same thing because of sin.
Romans 7:15-19 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
(Please note that Paul wrote this in the present tense - not the past tense. Michael Pearl and some others have tried to teach that this was Paul talking about how he used to be but that he later gained more or less complete freedom over sin. Grammar is important. It sometimes saves us from making heretical mistakes.)
Even though Paul wanted to do good, his flesh would not cooperate. The flesh is naturally dirty and unclean - inside and out. Without “effort” on our part it produces evil fruits.
Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
This is because our hearts are evil in their natural state. Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
The solution is as with the physical flesh — regular washing.
Jesus Christ provides this for us. Romans 7:24-25 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
We can be clean through His word. John 15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
We can be washed through His word. Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
(Some people seem to become completely preoccupied with the husband and wife relationship in this passage and tend to forget that the main object is to show how Christ relates to His church. Please don't miss the point.)
Also, we are told in 1 John 1:7, But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. Light exposes evil, and the blood of Jesus removes the deepest stains of sin.
Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
We are also told to wash one another’s feet. John 13:8-14 Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
Most of Christians believe that this is applied spiritually now in the sense that we wash the feet of our fellow saints who have been walking in this dirty world. We do this through edification, encouragement, and exhortation. Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
The flesh is vile, but Jesus Christ can and will subdue all things unto Himself eventually. Praise God for that! A day is coming when we won’t have this battle against dirt any more. Philippians 3:20-21 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
In Mark 9:2-3 we read, And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. When Jesus was transfigured before these three disciples, they saw His raiment as it was in the sight of God - whiter than any cleaning agent on earth could ever make anything. He as promised us that someday we shall be like Him when we see Him as He is. 1 John 3:2-3 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. The hope of that day is a purifying hope because it should make us strive against sin even now. It should inspire us to walk in the light and and to confess our sins so that we might be cleansed from all unrighteousness daily, 1 John 1:9. It should encourage us to seek the cleansing that we can enjoy now through reading God's word and fellowship with other believers.
Someday we will be completely clean in body and mind and soul! We will no longer have the battle that Paul spoke of in Romans 7. We will be clean in every way as we are spiritually now in God's sight. This is a wonderful hope!
Revelation 19:7-9 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
And what is the righteousness of the saints?
Titus 3:5-7 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
As the apostle Paul said in Romans 7:25, "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord."