Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
I once made the irreparable mistake of wearing new shoes on a walk in the woods. It wasn’t long before mud splattered up the sides of my crisp white sneakers. They would never again be shiny and new. They would never recover their former glory. That’s how it goes in this world of splattered mud and broken promises. Clean things get dirty, and new things wear out. I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised or get upset about muddy shoes, but what about the cleanliness of our souls? Every sin stains us. Every transgression leaves a mark, both on those we hurt and on our own hearts. If we could see the spiritual damage done to ourselves by sin, we would be embarrassed, ashamed and probably disgusted. The marks left by sin must look far worse than mud splattered on new shoes.
Which is why the reconciling grace offered by Jesus Christ is so remarkable. He died to wash away our sins, to cleanse us through and through, so that when God looks at our hearts, He sees us as holy and “without blemish.” All the stains are gone. All the filth has been washed away. Because Jesus died for our sins, it’s as though our souls have been made new and fresh and clean. In God’s sight, by his grace and through our faith in Jesus, it’s as though we had never sinned at all.
How do we react in the face of such extraordinary grace? How do we show our gratitude for being purified by the blood of Jesus? First, we accept what God offers us with a faith that is “established and firm.” We believe that God’s forgiveness and reconciling power have truly removed all the blemishes from our hearts. In faith and gratitude, we “do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.” Second, we join Paul and other messengers of the gospel in sharing this wonderful offer of grace with people around us. What Jesus did for us at the cross is the greatest act of mercy and the most wonderful news the world has ever known. With gratitude for our own salvation, we let other sinners know that they too can be washed clean and declared holy in God’s sight.
Thank You, Father, for washing me clean from all my sin. I know I don’t deserve Your mercy, but I receive it by faith in the name of Jesus my Savior. Help me to share this wonderful news with others. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian