While I was using a bar of my homemade goat soap, I was once again amazed at how such a lovely, gentle cleansing agent comes forth due to using the caustic substance, lye, to produce it.
To make the soap I add a considerable amount of lye crystals to slushy goat’s milk. The lye causes the temperature of the cold milk to soar up to 120-140 degrees F. Once it has cooled down to a certain temperature, four different types of oil, bees wax and honey heated to the same temperature are combined with the lye and the milk. The end product, a beautiful soap is ready to use in six weeks time.
Lye is an essential component in the soap making reaction because its hydroxide ion combines with the oil or fat to form the soap. The only exception to sodium hydroxide soap would be the occasional liquid soap that is made with potassium hydroxide. Potassium hydroxide, however, is also a type of lye (see www.soap-making-resource.com/lye-soap.html ). A chemical change involving lye must happen in order to create soap, even though lye on its own burns and corrodes, when mixed appropriately with oils it becomes an amazing cleansing product.
Likewise, I have discovered over the years that God’s truth, as revealed through His word and the power of His Holy Spirit, can so effectively pinpoint areas of sin in my life that I feel like I have been burned: burned with shame and remorse, guilt and sorrow. At the same time however the oil of His gracious love and forgiveness, kindness, grace and mercy through Jesus Christ, mixed with the burning truth of His word becomes a gentle and beautiful cleansing agent in my life.
Without lye, there is no soap. And without the burning truth of God’s word to convict and convince us of our sin, the reality of who we truly are, there can be no recognition, confession and repentance of our sin, all necessary actions to bring us back into good standing with the One who loves us so.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NIV)
Today may each of us allow the burning truth of God’s word, plus the oil of His love, mercy, kindness, forgiveness and grace, through Jesus Christ, be the purifying soap that cleanses us from the inside out.
Prayer: Father God thank You for the burning truth of Your word that is faithful to convict and convince us of our sin. May we be a people of openness and honesty before You that our lives may reflect the goodness of Your truth, mercy, love, kindness and grace to the world around us. In Christ’s name we ask. Amen.