There is a common theme that runs through a lot of teaching about holiness and sanctification. This theme is based on faulty human logic and shows an important misunderstanding of the difference in the Old and New Covenants. And the inevitable result is confidence-stealing condemnation.
I saw this logic recently in a very sincere social media post:
“If you put a drop of sewage in bottled water, would you still drink it? No, of course not! In the same way, one drop of compromise contaminates the ENTIRE vessel of our lives. So we must completely sanctify ourselves so He can fill us.”
Really? Is this true? Is this a New Covenant truth intended to “Set Us Free”?
To arrive at the right conclusion, we must start at the right starting point. But this kind of thinking, even though it is so prevalent in current teaching, is just plain wrong and very damaging. It is the conclusion of faulty human logic that starts at the wrong starting point and inevitably takes us to the wrong place.
The logic used in the quote above begins with a question.
“If you put one drop of sewage in a bottle of water, would you still drink it?”
The obvious answer is, “Ick! I wouldn’t drink something that has sewage in it!” The logical conclusion is that God wouldn’t drink it either. And if that bottle of water is supposed to be us, then we conclude God would never want to “drink us” if we have “even a drop of sewage in us”. But this kind of thinking is wrong and leads us into condemnation because we are using human logic instead of thinking with a New Covenant mindset.
There is a huge hole in this logic. We began the example thinking about water being used for drinking.
But God doesn’t drink us! We drink Him. And as we do, His water cleanses us.
Heb 10:22- “…let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” NIV
Eph 5:25-26- “…just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word…” NIV
God does indeed pour the pure water of the Holy Spirit into our “dirty vessels”! That’s how He cleanses us so we become more and more sanctified in our minds, our motivations and our behavior. We do not contaminate God’s holiness with our unholiness. His holiness cleanses our unholiness. His holiness is medicinal and it heals our weaknesses.
God is not afraid that somehow we will infect Him with our weaknesses. Our sin and weakness doesn’t infect Him; His grace infects us with His transforming power.
Matt 13:33- "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough." NIV
Just a little bit of yeast left in a loaf of dough will eventually “infect” the whole loaf. That is the promise of the New Covenant; Him, in us, changing us from the inside out! This is the right place to start.
New Covenant grace is the infection of transforming power
that spreads through human contact when we simply talk about Him.
2 Cor 3:18- “And all of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more.” NLT
And just to set the record straight, there is at least a drop, a miniscule amount of sewage, in nearly all drinking water. But our immune system usually counterattacks and neutralizes the impurities. As God’s children, we have a spiritual immune system to fight off impurities; Christ in us, the hope of Glory!
Mark Drake is an internationally known author, teacher and leader. He focuses on equipping leaders around the world in New Covenant Grace.