Second, the Word of God is the water that corrects our defilement. Sin defiles us. There’s no question about that. If you ever have any doubt about the defiling nature of sin, just read Psalm 51. as you know, Psalm 51 is David’s cry of repentance. Notice how often he talks about defilement. “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” (v. 2). Why? Because sin had defiled him. “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (v. 7). “Create in me a clean heart, O God” (v. 10). Sin defiles us.
The Word of God has the ministry of washing us. When we confess our sins, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us. But the water of the Word enters our minds, our hearts, our inner being, and washes us. Paul talked about this in Ephesians 5:25,26: “Husbands, love your wives, just 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.” He wasn’t talking about the washing of water in some religious ceremony but about the cleansing ministry of the Word. What was the purpose? “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” (v. 27). The Lord Jesus Christ did something wonderful in the past—He gave Himself for the Church. He will do something wonderful in the future—present it a glorious Church. He is doing something wonderful in the present—sanctifying the Church through the Word of God.
The Word is the water that washes away spots, wrinkles and blemishes.
What causes spots? The defilement of the world. The Book of James tells us that pure religion is to “keep oneself unspotted from the world” (1:27). When we don’t walk on the right path, we get dirty. Wrinkles come from deterioration on the inside. The Church of Jesus Christ should not grow old and wrinkled and go through an aging process. No, the church should always exhibit a youthfulness, even though as individuals we grow older. The Church of Jesus Christ should have the vigor and vitality and beauty of a young bride. And this comes from the Word of God. I fear that sometimes we find ourselves spotted and wrinkled and blemished. Blemishes come from infections, don’t they? Diseases attack the body and cause blemishes.
This is why we need the cleansing power of the Word of God daily. Just as we daily take a bath or a shower and wash our hands regularly, so we need the washing of the water of the Word daily. Jesus said to His disciples, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you” (John 15:3).
Psalm 119:9 says, “How can a young man [or young woman, or older person] cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your Word.” King David had to have the Word of God to wash him, also the blood to cleanse him.
The Word is light that corrects our detours and water that corrects our defilement. It is also medicine that corrects our diseases. “He sent His word and healed them” (Ps. 107:20). In the Bible sin is sometimes compared to sickness. Isaiah talked about the sickness of the sinful nation, Israel. “The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faints. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it” (Isa. 1:5,6). Sin is like sickness, and the Word of God is medicine that can cure us of spiritual sickness.
False doctrine is like disease. Paul compared the results of false doctrine to a cancer, a spreading gangrene. “But shun profane and vain babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer” (II Tim. 2:16,17). He warned us that the lies of the false teachers would overthrow the faith of true believers. He warned us to be careful about allowing false doctrine to spread like gangrene or cancer in the Body of Christ. The only thing that can overcome it is sound doctrine. The word “sound” gives us our English word “hygiene.” Throughout I and II Timothy and Titus, you find Paul talking about “sound doctrine.” It means healthy doctrine. If we are receiving the healthy doctrine and the good medicine of God’s Word, then we won’t have the cancer of false teaching growing in our lives or in our churches.
The Word of God is medicine. We don’t like to take medicines, do we? Sometimes medicine doesn’t taste good, but we have to take it. The Word of God is medicine from the Great Physician, who alone can make us whole.
The Word of God is light that corrects our detours, water that corrects our defilement and medicine that corrects our diseases. It is also a sword that corrects our deformities. “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit” (Heb. 4:12). The Bible is like a surgeon’s scalpel that can penetrate deformed joints and straighten them out. No one enjoys surgery, but sometimes we need it. I have been through surgery, and it’s no delight. God’s Word is the critic, the discerner, that exposes the thoughts and motives of the heart. Only the Word of God can cut into our deep inner being to remove and straighten out the wrong things that are there.
Think about Jonah and his twisted inner feelings. He hated the Ninevites, and he was angry at God. God had to use His Word to correct Jonah’s attitudes. “Then the Lord said, ‘Is it right for you to be angry?’” (Jon. 4:4). Or, think about the elder brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son. The father had to go out and plead with him to forgive his brother (Luke 15:28-32). Sometimes God has to use the sword, the scalpel, to cut deeply into our inner being. We don’t like it, but we need it. When our prejudices twist us, when we refuse to listen to the truth, when we become stubborn under the guise of our convictions, God’s sword has to go to work and correct us.
Let’s yield to the loving correction of the Word of God. When we are on detours, the light will correct us and bring us to the right path. When we are defiled, the water will cleanse us and make us beautiful again. When we have spiritual disease, the medicine of sound doctrine will make us healthy and strong again. When we become deformed, the Sword of the Spirit can cut deeply and straighten out our inner person. Let’s be thankful for the correcting ministry of God’s Word.
© 2005 Warren W. Wiersbe
© 1989 by The Good News Broadcasting Association, Inc. All rights reserved.
Dr. Warren Wiersbe (1929-2019) was an internationally known Bible teacher, author, and conference speaker. He graduated in 1953 from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. While attending seminary, he was ordained as pastor of Central Baptist Church in 1951 and served until 1957. From September 1957 to 1961, Wiersbe served as Director of The Literature Division for Youth for Christ International. From 1961 to 1971 he pastored Calvary Baptist Church of Covington, Kentucky south of Cincinnati, Ohio. His sermons were broadcast as the “Calvary Hour” on a local Cincinnati radio station. From 1971 to 1978, He served as the pastor of Moody Church in Chicago 1971 to 1978. While at Moody Church he continued in radio ministry. Between August 1979 and March 1982, he wrote bi-weekly for Christianity Today as “Eutychus X”, taught practical theology classes at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and wrote the course material and taught a Doctor of Ministry course at Trinity and Dallas Seminary. In 1980 he transitioned to Back to the Bible radio broadcasting network where he worked until 1990. Dr. Wiersbe became Writer in Residence at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids and Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. In his lifetime, Dr. Wiersbe wrote over 170 books—including the popular Be series, which has sold over four million copies. Dr. Wiersbe was awarded the Gold Medallion Lifetime Achievement by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA).