An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 6 - Doctrinal Truth - Page 47 of 270
The word translated, 'to cleanse', is katharizo, from which we derive
our own word 'cathartic' a purgative medicine.  The occurrences of katharizo
in the New Testament fall into two groups -- those that occur in the Gospels
and the Acts, and those that occur in the Epistles.  In the first group we
The cleansing of lepers (Matt. 8:2,3; 10:8; 11:5; Mark
1:40,41,42; Luke 4:27; 5:12,13; 7:22 and 17:17).
The cleansing of 'meats' (Mark 7:19; Acts 10:15; 11:9).
The ceremonial cleansing of the Pharisees (Matt. 23:25,26; Luke
Peter's application of the spiritual lesson of the sheet, with
its clean and unclean animals, to the believing Gentiles --
'purifying their hearts by faith' (Acts 15:9).
It will be seen that the word is based upon the same Old Testament
ritual, associated with priest and sacrifice, that we find underlying the
words 'without blemish'.
When we come to the Epistles, the truth of this katharsis, whether in
connection with lepers, meats or utensils, is applied to the believer.
Katharizo in the epistles
'Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit,
perfecting holiness in the fear of God' (2 Cor. 7:1).
'That He might sanctify and cleanse it' (Eph. 5:26).
'And purify unto Himself a peculiar people' (Tit. 2:14).
'How much more shall the blood of Christ ... purge your conscience from
dead works' (Heb. 9:14).
'Almost all things are by the law purged with blood' (Heb. 9:22).
'It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens
should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with
better sacrifices than these' (Heb. 9:23).
'Cleanse your hands, ye sinners' (Jas. 4:8).
'The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin' (1 John
'... And to cleanse us from all unrighteousness' (1 John 1:9).
It will be seen that the three references in the Epistle to the Hebrews
make it clear that in this cleansing, purging or purifying, we have the
application of the finished Work of Christ to our uncleanness.  As Hebrews
9:23 puts it, the Old Testament cleansings were 'patterns' and were
accomplished by the blood of bulls and goats that could never take away sins,
but in the Offering of Christ we have that complete provision for sin and
uncleanness, that will one day enable Him to present us as 'holy and without