I was born and raised in Kansas. I didn’t move to the Pacific Northwest until 1991. Last week I made a ten-day visit to Kansas and confirmed that having lived for two decades in Washington State, I have completed the transformation from “tough guy” to “Washington Weenie.” It was hot and humid! I was borderline miserable. The air was so dense with humidity that I could feel it as I inhaled. It was like trying to drink an overly-thick milkshake through a straw.
The highlight of my day would be some time in a cool shower. So I plan for the blessed event, take my shower, put on fresh clothing and feel great … for about ten minutes. Why even bother showering? Within minutes I’m dripping, sticky, my fresh clothing is no longer fresh and I feel terribly uncomfortable.
Over the years I’ve encountered a number of people who experience their walk with Christ in a similar way. The challenges of life, a hostile environment, temptations at every turn leave them feeling unclean, uncomfortable, as though they need a spiritual shower yet again to wash the uncleanness from their soul. We see this played out with men and women who are baptized repeatedly, just in case, or who respond to alter calls on a regular basis to be cleansed yet again. Such a walk is fraught with anxiety, is driven by fear, and feels terribly insecure.
I encourage all of us to commit 1 John 1:9 to memory. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Feel the burden-lifting impact of that word “all.” That is past unrighteousness, present unrighteousness, future unrighteousness, all unrighteousness. We who are in Christ have a perpetual spiritual shower, cleansing us from our hair follicles to our toe nails. We are clean. Our sins are removed from us as far as the East is from the West. His grace is sufficient for even me.
I will agree that it is a good thing to be cognizant of our sin and our sinfulness, but I encourage you to not devalue or diminish the finished work of Christ and the thorough cleansing of the blood he shed on our behalf. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” it was finished. Rest in the finished work of his sacrifice on your behalf.
Victoriously in Christ!