Are you laboring after God and not finding him?
Could it be that you are not washing yourself? Do you not know that God is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity? Do you not know that no unclean thing can enter into his presence? There is a fountain opened for the cleansing of all sin and filth. Make use of it. (Hab 1:13, Rev 21:27, Zech 13:1)
Or perhaps you wash generally but do not know how to wash specifically. Imagine a mechanic taking a shower in the dark after working in grease all day. If he cannot see to scrub off the deep stains, if he only passes the soap over his body, or—worse yet—only rinses in the stream of water, will his efforts make him clean? To be sure, he will be cleaner than if he did not wash at all. Yet if he had to meet a king that night, the mechanic would make sure to wash in the light and to remove every spot and stain.
Or to use a more biblical analogy, under the law there was a general purification for sin offered up every morning and evening. On top of this, the purification was doubled on the sabbath and the great atoning sacrifice was offered up once a year. Yet all of this was not enough to purge an Israelite from specific sins and uncleanness. For specific sins and uncleanness he would have to offer a special sacrifice or perform a specific rite to wash from that particular stain. Otherwise that man was to cut off from the congregation.
This was written for our instruction (Rom 15:4, 1Co 9:10). Examine yourself. By the light of the Spirit, see your filth, so that you may make use of the cleansing power of the blood to purify yourself. This not only can be a sensible experience for the believer, it must be! Without using the senses, you will be like the mechanic who washes in the dark, or like the Israelite who does not cleanse himself specifically. Such a one is to be cut off from the assembly since he has defiled the sanctuary of the Lord. How then will you enter into his presence if you will not use God’s means of cleansing yourself? Will God tolerate a person who forsakes God’s ways and means for his own? Hebrews says “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Heb 10:22).
If you would enter with full assurance of getting an audience with the King, had not you better wash first?