My husband is a preacher. Every Sunday he wears a white shirt with his suit. Instead of washing a white shirt every week, his closet is full enough I had actually waited until I had oh, just about every white shirt he owned in the laundry basket. I gathered them out of the clothes hamper, threw them in the washer and went on my way. Late at night I took them out of the washer, and threw them in the dryer. The next day when I went to remove them from the dryer, I saw it… not one, but EVERY shirt had ink stains on them in various places! I went to the washer where the culprit still lay in the bottom of the tub. One of Tom’s black ink pens, in pieces, and out of ink! I had not only washed ink into the white shirts, but then I DRIED it in! I was sure they were ruined and contemplated throwing them all away and going to buy new. But there was no way I could replace ALL those white shirts – that would be so expensive. Instead, I Googled and read and found out what would take the stain out. I applied rubbing alcohol, then stain remover, then straight out bleach on each spot… as I did, it turned from black to red. (Then to white once the water was applied in the washing machine.) I said a little prayer and threw them in the washer again, with a little more bleach. The end result? WHITE AS SNOW and no ink stains! As I was pulling them out of the dryer, beautiful, white and looking brand new this bible verse came to mind – “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. ALL things are passed away, and behold ALL things become NEW.”
The parable didn’t escape me… the sin in our lives is like those dark ink spots on that white shirt. We often look at the sin and think “we’re ruined. No one will ever want me. No one will ever love me again, especially God! I’ve done so much wrong it can never be made right. I might as well just be thrown away because walking around with these big ink stains of sin is ugly, and painful, and hard. But Romans 5:8 says “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Christ didn’t die for us once we had our act together – he died for WHILE we were still helpless, reckless and rebellious.
Jesus takes broken people and makes them new; he takes stained pasts and wipes them clean; he takes shattered identities and reshapes them to be like him. And then as we grow in Christ we become a “NEW” creature – turning from sin and toward God. The stains turned red on the shirt – Christ’s blood washes our sins away. And then, when they were washed in the water, they came out as white as they were when they were originally designed – the ink spots and stains of sin gone. Just like Peter tell us in Acts 2:38 – “Repent (turn from sin and toward God) and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins (In the water… you come in contact with the blood of Christ and it washes your sins away) and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
I encourage you today – no matter what lies the enemy is whispering in your ear – no matter how big and how dark the stains of sin are in your life – there’s NO SIN too big that God can’t forgive and the blood of Jesus wash it away. I don’t care where you are in your journey – don’t believe the lie that you have to have it all together to come to Jesus – just come. If you don’t have a home church, we would love to have you join us at Marshall. I’ll save you a seat.