Read Ezekiel 36:22–28
“Therefore say to the Israelites, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.
“ ‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.’ ”
Unlike those who were hearing Ezekiel’s message for the first time, we know the end of the story—we know Jesus came to cleanse us from all our impurities and sin. When we put our faith in Jesus, we can rest assured that God has forgiven us and given us a new heart that no longer balks at His love, but embraces it, longs for it, and desires to be shaped by it. Baptism is the way we mark this cleansing we receive in Christ. We go under the water as our old selves—gripped by sin and in need of God’s saving grace. We come out of the water as our new selves—cleansed, made pure, and released from sin because of Jesus Christ. We are now able to live more and more into our new selves in Christ.
- As you reflect on your life, what evidence do you see of God’s cleansing work? How does your new self compare to the old?
- Where is God still at work to bring about your new self? How do you sense God inviting you to open more of yourself to His cleansing?
- Each time you drink water today, say a prayer for those in the world who don’t have water. To make your prayer more specific, pick a country or location where water is scarce and pray specifically for the children in that place.
Father, thank You for Jesus! Thank You for the cleansing He brought me, releasing me from the grip of sin and death and ushering me into a new life. Help me to live more fully into this new life and lean more into being my new self in Christ. Wherever I continue to be stuck in the old, show me and give me the strength and faith to leave the old behind. Let my life reflect the cleansing You have done so others will be drawn to You. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.