“Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”
I am neurotic about clothing stains. If I catch one on my clothing before I leave my house, I will quickly change into something else that is stain free before facing the public. If I spill something on myself during the day I will do my best to get the stain out or try to make it unseen. I will also obsess over it fearing people can see it or worrying that the clothing item is ruined because of the stain. I count it a great success when I am able to launder the item and permanently remove the stain.
My son is a three sport athlete. Throughout the year he busies himself with american football, basketball and baseball. Two of three sports are notorious for creating many stains on his uniforms. It’s most challenging when his uniform is white. Within in minutes of a game his jersey and/or pants are adorn with grass and mud stains. I’ve spent many late nights soaking uniforms and buying all kinds of stain remover sprays to return the uniform back to its unblemished look. Again, I’m usually successful but sometimes, the stain simply doesn’t wash out.
Sin is an ugly stain we walk in daily. God sent His son to cleanse us from all sin but we still struggle with the stain of sin every day. Christians are not free of trials, tribulations and most definitely not from temptation. We have an enemy who waits and watches just looking for the perfect opportunity to lead us into sin. Some believers even have strongholds they continue to be slaves to even after choosing Christ and saying the prayer of Salvation. Just like an impossible stain on a clothing item, a stronghold can seem like an impossible stain of sin in our lives.
Jesus’ blood is the ultimate stain remover. 1 John 1:7 explains it this way; “…if we walk in the Light as He Himself is the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” Christ’s blood was shed to cleanse us from every sin possible. He died before you and me ever existed. In a sense, Christ’s crucifixion was a pre-treatment sort of scotch guard that doesn’t protect us from sin but protects us from the stain walking in sin brings. Even though we are born into a sinful world, every sin stain is removed when we give our lives to the One who died to save us.
Here’s a better explanation. Imagine salvation like a white fur coat. You’re so in love with this fur coat that you don’t save it for special occasions, you proudly adorn yourself with it every day. After all, Christ does call us to take up our crosses and live out our salvation daily. Satan is like a fur protester waiting and watching to throw red paint all over your fur coat while your running errands, heading to work or engaging in some other ordinary routine part of your day. I’m not a dry cleaner, but I cannot fathom that red paint all over a white fur coat would be easy if even possible to remove.
That’s what satan wants for our lives, to be so stained in sin and strongholds that we think it’s impossible for Jesus to ever wash us clean. When we are in this mindset, we feel hopeless, ruined and beyond repair. If we think Jesus can’t fix us or make us clean, how will ever strive to seek Him or walk in His ways? How can we ever recover from mistakes and addictions if we believe we cannot be saved. The enemy uses sin and strongholds to fool us into believing God cannot and will not redeem us.
How do we combat the enemy’s lies? Very similar to how we combat clothing stains. With the best stain removing tool out there. In the Christian world, our best stain remover is God’s word. The Bible is full of promises that remind us of what He has done and how He cleanses us from all our sins. In fact, that’s exactly what 1 John 1:9 tells us: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of all our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Unrighteousness is a stain that God promises to purify (cleanse) us from. Isaiah 43:25 explains it even better; “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”
Stain removers for clothing have come a long way. There’s even a laundry stick called Tide To-Go that one can apply to clothing as soon as something is spilled in an effort to be proactive in preventing a stain. In faith we don’t have a Tide to Go, but we do have a God to go to every time we are tempted to sin (stain prevention), when we get caught up in sin (similar to a coffee stain on a shirt sleeve after accidentally spilling it on yourself) and especially with every stronghold we are chained to (those continuous sins we can’t seem to get free from.)
Just like with clothing stains, we can be proactive against sin stains too. For clothing, we may carry a stain stick for anticipated spills. For sin, we can carry our Bible, download a bible app to our smart phones and tablets and especially memorize scripture. To combat the enemy’s attacks and in anticipation for whatever “red paint” he throws our way, standing on God’s word and reciting the right scripture will protect us from being permanently stained. If you’re struggling with the idea that God cannot fix you, buy yourself a Tide to Go and on the back side of the package, write down Isaiah 43:25. Carry it with you and confess it aloud as often as it takes for you to believe that Jesus made you stainless!