This scripture has always been one of my favorites. At least the first part .
Draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands ye sinners and purify your hearts ye double minded .”
James 4:8 KJV
The second part has my attention tonight. The scriptures use various words to describe cleansing. In this case however, katharízō means to make pure (“clean”), removing all admixture (intermingling of filth). This meaning can be literal, but here the context is in shown in a spiritual sense.
But from what do we cleanse our hands, and why the hands? I believe, after looking at this and other scriptures, commentaries and studies, that this meaning’s weight comes from the familiarity and importance of the hands in our everyday lives, combined with what we know in the spirit as our conviction’s core, the heart.
xeir: properly, hand; (figuratively) the instrument a person uses to accomplish their purpose (intention, plan).
Our hands touch many things throughout the day. They are also used for work, and to accomplish many things — things we do not consciously consider because our hands are such an integral part of most people’s lives. What you do with your hands also indicates what you may do for a living or how you spend your free time. If you are an office worker, typing may be keeping your hands busy, putting details in order, making lists or data entry. If an artist, you may be holding a brush as you examine your world of color and translate what you see in your mind’s eye. The hands are used differently depending on the purpose for upon which they are called.
Microscopic germs were most likely not known to the author of this book, who is most apt to be James, the half-brother of Jesus himself. So this writing is not a convoluted, complicated text to be misconstrued in abstract ways; it indicates by way of the roots of the core words used that we are to keep our hands (intent, purpose, function) pure, and not to mix with impure things.
So what would cause a Christian to have “dirty hands?”
First and foremost, intentionally forsaking obvious scriptural truths, warnings and sentiments as to how a Christian should live their life. Another way a Christian may mix with impurity is to allow worldly thinking and values to compromise the godliness of holy living, according to the Word of God. The list of examples could be endless, as we all know holy living to be much more challenging then unholy living. The sin nature of the world sees to that. Our task is to stay the course; to fight the good fight and to seek after virtue.
“Draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you.”
It bears repeating. Our hands become stained with the world when we draw away from God instead of drawing near/nigh to God. Every moment of every day there is a supernatural pull (the sinful nature of the earth) to keep us from what is holy; to keep us from what is pure in mind and body; to make us more like the world and less like the light that shines in darkness.
The secret to clean hands is to reach only for what is holy and pure. The truth about pure hands connects with a pure heart, thereby doing good as we pursue God in His righteousness, and claiming our righteousness through Jesus Christ.
Psalm 37:3-5 is a perfect set of verses to keep in mind when considering staying clean in both purpose and intent, as well as to stay on course following the will of God for your life!
Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord. Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.”
Psalm 37:3-5 NKJV