Revelation 7:14 “And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Have you ever had an injury that bled all over your clothes? Blood stains are very difficult to remove in clothes, especially when it dries. The idea of making clothes white by washing in blood seems counterintuitive.
Blood has been described as the essence of life to a body. Many religions have used blood during ceremonies and the sprinkling of blood is often synonymous with a covenant agreement that binds two parties to a pact, broken only by death.
Exodus 24:8 “And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, “This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words.”
When Jesus shed His blood upon the cross, that spilling of blood became symbolic to the original temple sacrifice. Since Jesus died for all who would believe, His people are regarded as having been washed in His blood that brought grace to all who believe.
From Death to Life
*Spiritually, the effect of being washed in the blood of Christ is the only means by which a sinner can be made clean.
Whether it is the effects of rebellion or our attempts at self-righteousness, we present ourselves before God as filthy, unclean, and defiled. Our sinful nature sits at the core of our being and reminds us that we are not holy, we are not god, and we have nothing good that dwells within us.
Isaiah 64:6 “But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.”
We cannot try to be good on our own, we don’t have the capacity to be found perfect before God. Our nature is sin and pure righteousness is only found in God. Unless we know how to obey God perfectly and have the power to do so, we will perpetually be frustrated by our own weakness and failure.
The world is diametrically opposed to Christ. It’s ways are fraught with pride, self-indulgence, destruction, hatred, lust, and death. All the paths of the world lead to these paths of darkness and the further along a traveler progresses down those paths, the more destructive they become.
Like refining gold in a kiln, the dross remains unless it is purified. No manner of good works can reverse the failures of our past. No works of penance can be found for those who hope to justify their iniquity.
What are we to do before a Just and Holy God? His judgements are final, His penalty for sin is harsh and our offenses are many.
Matthew 8:1-3 “When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean. “Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.”Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”
If we can’t recognize the state of our sin, we will not understand the necessity of repentance.
If we maintain the illusion that we are clean simply by our own efforts, our self-righteousness prevents us from coming to Christ. Our perspective is shrouded by allowing the world’s standard of goodness to be the measure of our spiritual success. We might feel good about ourselves when the world exalts us, especially if we buy into their definition of what is good, but in the end, we are left holding a bag of false hope and empty dreams.
Do you want praise from the world or praise from God?
Knowledge of sin gives us the opportunity to understand our position before the Lord, the Moral law exposes our depravity and leads us to the cross.
The leper was self-aware of his disease. Many in this world can’t see the filth of their sin. They don’t understand the state of their position. They give to a local foundation, rescue a stray animal, or take part in a charity fundraiser golf tournament and assume they are counted among the righteous. Today, the world is trying to redefine morality. What used to be shameful is now celebrated. What was once considered a disease is now taught as normal in our schools. Like a leper who walks through a crowd proclaiming his purity, the world desires everyone to be found leperous and so to normalize their shame without reproach.
Before God, the righteousness of the world is compared to used menstrual rags…..defiled and cast out as unclean.
The response to the lepers question , “Lord if you are willing, you can make me clean”, was the response we can all expect when we ask Jesus if He would heal us. To ask this question is to assume a position of humility.
Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.”
The purification from sin was perfected by Christ on the cross. He blots out our sins for His own names sake, not because of anything we deserve. His mercy shown is a reflection of His glory and His goodness.
In the final judgement, it is this state of being washed white as snow that makes us acceptable before the Father.
The white represents purity, the purity of the Son who bestowed His grace upon us. The sinless sacrifice offered upon the cross and made available to any who would ask…”Lord if you are willing, you can make me clean”
The Lord says….”I Am willing.”
Hebrews 10:22 “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
It is a heart of humility and repentance that God looks for, the one who recognizes they need God’s grace.
Knowledge of Sin
The knowledge of sin reduces our pride and reveals to us the magnitude of our rebellion. What the world attempts to justify, the moral law shows us that our position is defiled before God.
Romans 5:18-21 “Therefore, as one trespas led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The Moral law(10 commandments) is the means by which man is reduced to ashes. All of our good works are burned up before the law, we realize very quickly we cannot justify ourselves. When Adam fell, so mankind became corrupt with sin. But just as one act of disobedience led to the ruin of all, so one act of obedience led to forgiveness for all who believe.
Since Jesus completed the perfect sacrifice for sin, what must we do to receive His grace?
1 John 1:7-10 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
True belief is revealed by those who walk in the light. The walk of righteousness is not what saves, it is only the evidence of a heart change.
If you have a past that you regret, the only way to move on from that past is to be made clean. By trusting in Christ you place your hope in His salvation, you accept the path He has laid out in His Word, and you walk with Christ as your guide.
When you choose His salvation, you are made clean before Him and He is the only One that matters. You don’t need to try and justify yourself before the world, the world will bring accusation in false judgement.
The Lord is your judge and He decides whether you have been washed white or remain stained with sin.
When you come to Jesus and ask to be made clean…He says, “I am willing”.