Under the law it was so easy for a person to become ceremonially unclean. If he touched a dead body, or a grave, or a bone, he became unclean, and was cut off from Israel. It was for this reason that graves were often painted a dazzling white, especially at the time of the Passover when multitudes would visit Jerusalem.
A grave must be easily seen so that no one might stumble against it, and so be unclean. (Hence the remarks of the Lord Jesus concerning “whited sepulchres.”)
We, too, continually have to do with dead things. We meet them day by day. Sometimes, inadvertently, we stumble upon them.
We hear some blasphemous remark.
We see some indecorous poster.
We overhear some filthy conversation.
There are a multitude of “dead things.”
But what a contaminating effect they have upon us!
How we have to cry out, “Unclean! unclean!”
But under the law, God in His mercy made special provision for those who were ceremonially defiled. In Numbers chapter 19 we have an account of this merciful provision — the red heifer slain; the body burned; the ashes kept; the mingling with running water; the sprinkling; the purification.
If God was thus merciful under the law, is He less so under the gospel?
O our daily need of cleansing from daily defilement!
“Daily I’d repent of sin,
Daily wash in Calvary’s blood.”
And what a sacred passage is that which gives us the glorious antitype, the gospel fulfilment of Numbers 19; “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh; HOW MUCH MORE shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:13-14)!
Then there is the other side — not only the defilement but also the deadening effect.
What a deadening effect the things of the world have on us, even lawful things!
What deadness they bring upon our spirit!
How they hinder us in prayer!
How they harden our hearts!
We have to pray, “My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken Thou me according to Thy word” (Psalm 119:25).
It is the same remedy for spiritual dryness and deadness as for defilement — the blood of Christ. It is “the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” A little sacred sense of it will make all the difference.
Thank God that “something yet can do the deed.”
What power, what life, what efficacy in the blood!
No wonder the apostle says, “How much more!”
By B.A. Ramsbottom