Clean Hands – Acts 18:1-6

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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We wash food from toddlers’ hands when removing them from a highchair. We remind youngsters leaving the table to wash their hands so they don’t smear food on furniture. We repeatedly ask children to wash their hands after using the bathroom. Signs in bathrooms of restaurants inform employees that they are required to wash their hands. Those in the medical field are vigorously trained to wash their hands. In all of these examples, we are reminded that dirty hands are a problem.

While in Corinth, “…Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was [the] Christ. And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles” (Acts 18:5-6). This declaration tells us about far more than Paul beginning to take a determined step away from ministering to Jews and toward an unprecedented focus on ministering to Gentiles. Paul was also saying he was clean of any responsibility for the eternal destruction of these Jews because he had given them the gospel, and they rejected it. This concept relates back to God’s words to Ezekiel. This child of God was told, “…I have made thee a watchman…hear the word at My mouth, and give them warning from Me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked…to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at thine hand” (Ezekiel 3:17-18). To drive this point home, the same message is repeated in Ezekiel 33:1-9. Today, we might use the symbolic expression: “He has blood on his hands.” Pilate illustrated this concept. When he could not prevail upon the Jews to release the Savior rather than crucify Him, “… he took water, and washed his hands…saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person…” (Matthew 27:24). While Pilate was not truly innocent, Paul’s hands were clean because he had warned these lost men by giving them the gospel.

It is no accident that we see the constant example of Paul proclaiming the gospel to lost souls. He knew if he did not, his hands would not be clean regarding their eternal destruction. It is also God’s reminder of our responsibility to share the gospel. Will your hands be clean regarding lost souls you will meet today?

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."