Discovering Spiritual Truths & Celebrating God's Grace in the Every Day Happenings of Life.
We are in the process of painting the rooms of our house. Now that our first-year warranty has come to an end and drywall cracks and nail pops of a settling house have been repaired, we have the green light to start painting the walls of our home. And it was really in desperate need of a paint job. The painters that finished all of the homes in our neighborhood weren’t exactly the most careful or polished painters. No doubt they initially came in with their fancy sprayers to do a quick coat, without concern for drips or smudges. They clearly never came back to touchup missed or poorly done spots. Furthermore, they used a near-white, flat paint. This means that the paint is impossible to clean. It hides nothing. Any attempt to remove a spot either smears the stain or adds new water spots to the already infected area. I’m convinced that if you even looked at a wall too long you would leave some sort of marking.
For the past year, our walls have shown every mark. Scuffed up. Stained. Chipped and flaking. Water spots, handprints, and all sorts of other blemishes. Time to paint indeed!
We are making slow, steady progress. One bathroom and all the kids’ bedrooms have been completed. We’ll get the rest done… eventually. This is certainly not a labor of love. Painting is probably my least favorite home improvement task to accomplish. But as much as I despise painting, I must admit that there was something rewarding for my wife and me as we applied that first, fresh new color of paint to the walls. Whether it was by brush or by roller, watching our various new shades of color cover up every prior blemish on the walls was oddly gratifying. Gone are the scuff marks of furniture and bedframes. Gone are the unknown stains and markings of a house inhabited by three children and a dog. With great satisfaction and via two coats of paint, we covered up every spot and blemish. It took plenty of time and money, and I certainly would not call it enjoyable, but what a good feeling to step back and look at a wall that previously looked so horrible, and see it now just about perfect and scuff-free. The walls look brand new… for now. 😉
God deals with us in a similar fashion. “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18) Sin leaves each of us so very much scuffed up. This is an understatement of course; we don’t need to look hard to find the blemishes and stains on the walls of our lives. Our sins stand ever before us and they are undeniable. We are desperate for far more than just a proverbial fresh coat of paint. Truth be told, we need to knock down the walls and start the whole building process over. But alas, this is no task we could ever complete ourselves.
This is why God steps down from heaven… to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. He washes us clean and to makes us new. And unlike my experience painting, for God this spiritual cleansing is absolutely a labor of love. It is the love that God has for each of us that led Him to take redemptive action—coming to earth to suffer and die so that we could be forgiven. Of course, He does not use the stroke of a brush or swipe of a roller, but instead His body is pierced by thorns and nails. Our merciful God paints over the blemishes and iniquities of our sin-stained lives with the very blood that flowed from His cross. In an extraordinary, once-and-for-all moment (and at no cost to any of us), God gives us a purifying makeover with eternal consequences. No more spots. No more stains. No more sin.
Do you remember these words from the Apostle Paul? “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor. 5:17) Something to ponder next time you pick up a paintbrush.
We are cleansed.
Our spots have been covered.
We are made new.
Thanks be to God!
“Forgiveness is God’s greatest gift because it meets our greatest need.” (D. Platt)
Pastor Steve Vera