A 55-day festival known as “Kumbh Mela” is celebrated by millions around the world. At this festival, devotees bathe for the forgiveness of their sins at the meeting point of three rivers: the Ganges, the Yamuna, and the mythical Sarasvati. You might be surprised that this festival is the largest gathering of human beings on this planet. The religious ceremony only takes place every twelve years. More than 40 million followers gathered in 2001. According to many news reports, an estimated 30 million people visited the festival on February 10, 2013 and an estimated 100 million were expected to visit the place during the festival spread over 55 days.
This festival is a clear picture of irony. Hindus wash in the Ganges River for spiritual cleansing even though it ranks in the top five most polluted rivers on the planet. Dysentery, cholera, hepatitis, and severe diarrhea can all be contracted from the river. Here is the punch line: Hindus seek ultimate cleansing from one of the filthiest places in the world.
That may shock and appall you but all of us look for cleansing in filthy places. Many of us try to impress God with our good works, morals, and rituals. However, the Bible is clear that we are saved, favored, and loved by God in Christ by Grace and through Faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Still, many of us find our identity in our religious duties, in other things, or even in other people.
Tim Keller states:
RELIGION: I obey-therefore I’m accepted.
THE GOSPEL: I’m accepted-therefore I obey.
RELIGION: Motivation is based on fear and insecurity.
THE GOSPEL: Motivation is based on grateful joy.
RELIGION: I obey God in order to get things from God.
THE GOSPEL: I obey God to get to God-to delight and resemble Him.
In stark contrast to any other religion, the Bible points us to the pure blood of Jesus for spiritual cleaning. He never sinned. He was the spotless lamb. Therefore, He is able to wash away our sins.
In other words, Religion is too dirty to wash away sins. No human religion can cleanse us of our filthiness. Jesus had to come down to earth to live the life we should have lived and died the death we should have died, and took the wrath we deserved. Our religion couldn’t reach God but our Redeemer came to save us. Christ alone has clean hands and a pure heart. Then, he cleanses our hands with his blood and gives us a new heart!
Stop washing in the filthy rivers of idols. Trust in the finished work of Christ as the source of your salvation and the person of Jesus Christ as the center of your satisfaction.
For God’s Glory,