Clean Margins

A friend of mine underwent surgery to remove a cancerous lesion.

And afterwards he received some good news.

The surgeon said they got “clean margins.”

A biopsy is said to have “clean margins” when the pathologist does not see evidence of tumor cells in the margins (the surrounding borders) of the tissue that was removed.

In other words, they got it all.

I was thinking about “clean margins” and how it reminds me of Biblical holiness.

The root of the word holy means “separated.”

Separated from sin.
Separated to God.

When that happens, there’s moral goodness or “holiness.”

One writer suggested we can better understand what holy means by spelling it wholly—as in wholly surrendered, wholly devoted, loving God with our whole heart.
And we see what’s first necessary if that is ever going to happen—as illustrated here in Psalm 1:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of mockers… (verse 1).

Every part of the Believer’s life has to have clean margins when it comes to sin because…

Sin is the enemy of God.


It has the ability to metastasize and wreak havoc to every party of the body.

So the Bible warns us to take drastic measures.

Jesus uses the graphic metaphor of self-amputation:

If your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out; if it’s your hand, cut if off; if it’s the foot, chop, chop (Matthew 5:29).

You see? Zero tolerance with something that can destroy you.

Clean margins.

And again, observe the fierce imagery:

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed…” (Colossians 3:5)

God wants clean margins.
And even with our friendships.
“Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character" (1 Corinthians 15:33).

So whether it’s a morally compromised thought or a morally compromised friend—clean margins!


When you don’t have clean margins,

You get sick
and you die.

That’s how it works with cancer.
And that’s how it works with sin.

So let’s cooperate with the Holy Spirit, and let Him cut away the things that don’t belong, so that in every part of our lives we have--

Clean margins.

Washed in the Blood
Scriptures for further reflection:
Heb. 12:14; 2 Cor. 6:16-18; Ro. 12:1
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