“Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1, NLT
Purification rites were common in traditional African religions. Washing and cleansing rituals served as ways to be freed from curses and guilt for wrongdoing and for violating taboos. The physical act of washing represented moral and spiritual cleansing.
Old Testament Israel also had many purification rituals that were commanded by God (Numbers 8:5-8). Some rituals applied to the priests serving in the Tabernacle and later the Temple. Other rituals prepared the people to be in God’s presence.
Paul told the Corinthians to cleanse themselves from “everything that can defile our body or spirit” (2 Corinthians 7:1) this type of cleansing is done by confessing and turning away from the sins that pollute or soil us. Paul also challenged believers to “work toward complete holiness” because God is holy and just. Elaborate ceremonies are no longer necessary, but repentance from sin and seeking forgiveness are.
African Touch Points Note from the Africa Study Bible