‘ONLY’ JESUS can CLEANSE us COMPLETELY: “Thus you shall separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness, lest they die in their uncleanness when they defile My tabernacle that is among them." (Leviticus 15:31)
God’s intricate laws concerning leprosy and bodily discharges have been detailed in Leviticus chapters 13-15 to inspire the Israelites with a profound reverence for holiness. Being holy, God desired holiness within the Israelite camp and His tabernacle that were already consecrated by His presence. God required complete purity from the children of Israel, and did not allow them to come before Him when defiled in any manner. Actually, God was training His people to live in His presence like the priests who were devoted to His service!
Bodily discharges (Lev. 15:2–15) were not evil, but they did render people “unclean” and therefore temporarily disqualified them from approaching a holy God. God was clearly concerned about His people’s health and hygiene. No doubt sanitation was part of these laws, but fundamentally God was teaching His people how to live separate from defiling themselves.
Our bodies are not sinful by themselves, and our bodily functions are not morally defiling. But our nature (“the flesh”) is sinful and produces what is sinful and defiling (Mark 7:20–23; Gal. 5:19–21). If we are not careful with what we say and do, and what we are; we will touch others and defile them as well (vv. 5–12; Matt. 23:25–28).
God made provision for Israel’s ceremonial uncleanness, and He has made provision for us as well. Jesus cleanses us when we go to Him in contrition and confession (1 John 1:5–2:2). He keeps us clean through His blood (1 John 1:7) and through the cleansing power of His Word (John 15:3; Eph. 5:25–27).
We should note that Jesus Christ healed those who suffered exclusion from His presence under these Old Testament rules (Matt. 9:20–22), and they revealed the full redemption that was accomplished ‘only’ through Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:24, 25). Today, let us understand one thing: our sanctification is the will of God and ‘only’ Jesus can cleanse us completely!