In light of the necessity of Christ’s cleansing work, let’s consider what can hinder you from embracing your need for cleansing. Here are 3 interconnected hindrances:

1. Assume your assessment is authoritative instead of God’s assessment

Prov. 30:12 There is a kind who is pure in his own eyes, Yet is not washed from his filthiness.  Jer. 2:22 Although you wash yourself with lye And use much soap, The stain of your iniquity is before Me,” declares the Lord God. 23 “How can you say, ‘I am not defiled, I have not gone after the Baals’? Look at your way in the valley! Know what you have done!         

How can anyone say there aren’t competing objects of worship and substitute loves instead of God in one’s heart?  The only way to conclude that is to not allow Scripture to indict one’s heart by justifying sin while making excuses for it.  For instance, have you ever heard someone say something like this when highlighting an issue that seems pretty black and white: “I don’t think what you’re saying I’m doing is really wrong, because I don’t feel guilty about it.”  How is that the final say?  Isn’t God’s assessment in his word the authority by which he will judge? 

Living by that understanding is how the Apostle Paul maintained a clear conscience according to 1 Cor. 4:3 But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. 4 For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. 5 Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.                                  

God’s assessment in the end will bring everything to light, so we are walk in a healthy distrust of ourselves, as we conduct ourselves in the fear the Lord.

2. Spend all your effort on looking clean instead of being clean

Listen to how Jesus addresses some foremost hypocrites in Matt. 23:25 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. 27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

This is how it sounds in our day: “I go to church, pray before meals and vote conservative, so God, I thank you you’ve turned me into such a righteous person.”  Well that’s great, but you’re full of self-righteousness and pride.  God has no delight in those who conform to churchianity to try to establish their own righteousness. The only thing that pleases him is Christlikeness and that takes faith in the power of the Spirit to obtain. 

3. Compare yourself with others instead of with God’s word

Luke 18:9 And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”                  

Even though self-righteousness had blinded the Pharisee’s assessment anyway, it was doomed from the start since it was using a human comparison.  By doing so, the Pharisee was the opposite of needy and therefore was opposed by God. 

It’s impossible to have clarity when doing this, as the Apostle Paul says about the false teachers in 2 Cor. 10:12…when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.  

None of the things just mentioned can be practiced by us if we are to embrace our need for cleansing from Christ.