I painted my living room this week. A friend walked in and said, “It looks so clean!” I agree with her. It looks clean and fresh. Having lived there for seventeen years, I’d grown accustomed to the familiar marks. You know, the places where the chair rubs against the wall, where fingerprints accumulate, where pictures have left their telltale scratches and streaks in the paint. What had been there was now gone, covered over by a completely new color.
Clean and fresh. That left me with two thoughts.
The first was gratitude. Isn’t that the way it is with Jesus?
We see ourselves with the familiar marks and scars of life, beat up, whether from our own sinfulness or sin done to us. Jesus completely forgives us, taking all those out of the way. In a sense, what He sees when He sees us is fresh paint, bought with His own life. All clean. All right before Him because the old is covered over by His sacrifice.
The second was alarm. My own eyes had grown accustomed to the condition of the walls. I didn’t even see the accumulated marks any more. It made me wonder about my sensitivity to sin I am tolerating in my own life. Lord, open my eyes!
Either way, “all clean” is something He freely gives us when we come to Him.
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
What an invitation! A coat of fresh paint has given me fresh appreciation for being forgiven, for the past, for the present and for the future.
What thoughts does fresh paint stir up in you?
Yes, I see your analogy and I am thankful that in God’s eyes my scarlet sins are covered by Jesus’ scarlet blood and therefore they are white as snow. But I have been troubled for some time about the way that this has been taught and believed in the Church. Maybe you’ve heard the definition for ‘justification’ given as ‘just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned’.
But that which is forgiven – i.e. covered by fresh paint or covered by Christ’s blood – is still there, if hidden. Once one has been guilty one can never be innocent again. But one can be FORGIVEN. And so we are forgiven, because of Christ. If we could somehow hold in tension both ideas: the guilt that is rightly ours and our forgiveness through Christ I believe we could achieve the humility that should rightly characterize His Body and that would be such a beautiful testimony to the grace with which He has blessed us.
Thanks, Linda, for commenting. Sounds like you’d like to see more appreciation for being forgiven, less taking it for granted? The picture from Luke 18:9-14, the contrast of self- righteousness and humility, is what came to mind. I can feel that need myself. I am so thankful for the truth of being forgiven completely- Romans 5:8 has always been one of my favorite verses. Having been guilty, I’m grateful that He took my place.
I share the same feeling about the outside of our house. I just thanked God for helping me work in the garden and clean the lanai. I feel better inside because of the outside. It takes work to clean up the mess and bring some God-like decoration. But when we are through we know it and we are ready for visits from God. May God visit your life in spectacular ways in the coming days, Andrea. Dela
thanks, Dela, for that blessing! changing things does seem to create the opening for something new. May I echo that blessing back to you.