CHRISTIAN LIFE & GROWTH
By Dennis Cooper
"...they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Revelation 7:14
For sale. White wedding dress, only worn one time and less than a year old. Hand-made by designer Vera Wang, this gown has a red stain in the front from a wine spill that cannot be removed, but other than that — it is perfect! Paid almost $8,500 — will sacrifice for $50 obo.Perhaps, this is how we view ourselves at times, seeing only the stain of our own sins and inherent imperfection, allowing these to devalue us entirely. Designed for such a beautiful purpose by the author of creation, but feeling devoid of our real value, we sacrifice the value God sees within us for the imperfect perception of others, and more destructive — how we perceive ourselves. Forgetting the 95 percent of us that is beautiful, we walk around believing that everyone is staring at the 5 percent of us that is not. How often we forget, friends: We have been washed clean from our stains, and are 100 percent complete and beautiful in Christ.
We. Are. Forgiven.
The Bible is full of perfectly stained examples of God's purpose made complete in the worst of us, creating a beautiful reflection of once tattered and scatted souls. King David was guilty of plotting murder and committing adultery — getting a married woman pregnant and then having her husband positioned to die in a war, but not before befriending her husband in the process. Imagine this going down in your church. David confessed and saw his sin through and was blessed to be the seed of Jesus. Paul was the very man that oversaw and approved the stoning of the Lord's servant Stephen in the public square — several days later, he was preaching the Gospel of Jesus, and went on to write 13 books of the Bible. Peter would not even allow Jesus to wash his feet, and later denied that he even knew Jesus three times, right before Jesus was crucified. Peter went on to be commissioned to carry the Gospel to the Gentiles, and wrote two books of the bible. Thomas saw the resurrected Christ before his eyes and did not believe. Matthew was one of the most despised men of his times — a tax collector. The fisherman that Jesus brought into His 12 were back in His days, the uneducated and poor simpletons of their day. Today — we call these men Apostles. All of these misfits and sinners and lousy examples of exemplary men were soon found without spot before the eyes of our Lord — not by their own hand, but by the shed blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus. These men walked boldly. I think it is important to realize that Jesus, in many ways, not only saved us, but saved us too from how we see ourselves. How it is that in Christ we find it so easy to forgive others, all the while forgetting that this forgiveness applies to ourselves? Perhaps today, stop and ask yourself, Do I feel forgiven? Really, truly...forgiven? Our purposes and desires in Christ will never be made fully realized until we realize that forgiveness starts within.
Psalms 51:9 are the words of King David, after he committed what is likely the best example of someone who was stained by his own sin: "Don't keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt." There it is. GUILT. Feeling guilty. This feeling, and I can say this from personal experience, overrides every other emotion when it is in full swing and will decimate the goodness within our hearts, consume our thoughts and amplify 100 times the worst things that we do, will do, or have done. And it is okay to feel guilty — for a minute. However, do not deny the power of what Jesus did for His church collectively and for you individually when He sacrificed His perfect life on the cross for the very sin and guilt that many of us feel. Do not deny the power of the blood of Jesus in your life. Knowing this truth within will not make you sinless, but it will certainly make you; sin less. This is what His love does. When we can meditate on this kind of love and redeeming power that overlooks the stains of our actions and sees only the beauty of our true nature in Christ Jesus — we are not just forgiven, we feel forgiven, and we act forgiven knowing that regardless of ourselves, we are loved. We are able to walk in boldness in our faith because of the power of the love that the life and death of Christ Jesus set for our every step. We have been washed clean. We are set apart. We are a chosen people. You are forgiven. Those stains are already gone.
Not for sale: White wedding dress, worn and tattered with stains that have now been made into a perfect, spotless white robe.
Paid: by the blood of Jesus.
Image Credit: Faith Kashefska Lefever; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | Jesus-Christ
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Published on 7-1-14