Swept and Garnished (3)
Luke 11:24-26 (24) When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. (25) And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. (26) Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. As noted in a previous meditation, this unclean spirit was not repulsed by a recently swept and garnished house which he had previously corrupted by his presence. To the contrary, that swept and garnished condition appealed to him, if anything. Mind that the house was swept, not washed. The most diligent sweeping will never thoroughly take away sin; there will always be some residue. Those who rely upon the keeping of commandments for justification are thus as this swept house, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (JAM 2:10), and “...Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (GAL 3:10). Jesus did not say, “If I sweep thee not...” but “...If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me” (JOH 13:8). The washing of regeneration has nothing to do with our works, no, not even our works of righteousness which we have done (TIT 3:5). NOTE: There are those who have escaped the pollutions of this world by a superficial sweeping, yet they are still under the power of the god of this world because they have not a gracious washing (2PE 2:20). If they have any washing, it is only the outward washing of the sow that turns again to her wallowing in the mire (2PE 2:22), not the inward “...washing of water by the word” (EPH 5:26) that makes sows into sheep. That Babylon was swept “...with the besom (broom) of destruction...” (ISA 14:23) did not mean that it was under grace. Pharaoh confessed that he had sinned (EXO 9:27) but he is an eminent example of a non-elect reprobate outside of grace (ROM 9:16-18). And, as soon as the pressure from God upon Pharaoh eased up, Pharaoh entangled himself in his old hardness---and then some. And, the latter end was worse with him than the beginning (2PE 2:20); “...the last state of that man worse than the first” (LUK 11:26). Such an empty (MAT 12:44) swept and garnished house which is unwashed is reminiscent of the house that was emptied according to the law of leprosy (LEV 14:57), yet the plague was still in the walls (LEV 14:36-37). Many who say unto Jesus, “Lord, Lord” will not enter into the kingdom of heaven (MAT 7:21-22). Let not the assurance of eternal glory be built upon the shifting sands of outward displays of piety or confessions of faith without persevering works which may be no more than what an unclean spirit might demonstrate: (JAM 2:18-20) Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (19) Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (20) But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?