Daily Encouragement: Year 2, Day 100

From Handbook to God’s Promises


The Past Is Washed Away
(Ezekiel 11:16–21)

City-dwellers who attend county fair livestock exhibitions are often most surprised at seeing the pigs. People think of pigs as wallowing contentedly in the mud—an action reflective of their intelligence, actually. Mud cools them on hot days and protects them from stinging insect bites.

When a pig is identified as having prize-winning potential, it is redeemed from the mud pit, washed, and ushered into a life of luxury. It is kept in a pristine stall where it is fed, washed, fed, manicured, fed, coddled, and fed. Once washed, these hams-on-the-hoof are never allowed back in the mud. Neither does God want His children, once cleansed and redeemed, to return to a life of sin.

In this passage in Ezekiel, the prophet described a time when God planned to bring His exiled people back into fellowship with Himself. They would be given the gift of an undivided “heart and . . . a new spirit”; God also promised to “take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh. “Then,” said God, “they may walk in My statutes and My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God” (Ezek. 11:19–20). These would be people who were “clean,” having a single-minded devotion to God and to His commands.

The apostle Paul also discussed this kind of inner transformation when describing the person who devotes his or her life to Jesus Christ. As with His people in the Old Testament, God redeems us from the muddy sties in which we live. He washes us (Heb. 10:22) and declares us holy (Col. 1:22), making us righteous in His sight (Rom. 5:1–19).

Paul’s language reminds us of a farmer explaining to his prized pig why it can’t be allowed back in the mud: “Such were some of you” (1 Cor. 6:11, emphasis added). Like the clean animal who is no longer allowed to wallow, we are taken out of our old and idolatrous lifestyles (6:9–11), never again to return. What we “were” is no longer to be what we “are,” for we are now God’s own possession.

God’s Promise:
As the object of God’s love, He will keep you from returning to the sins of your past.