Keeping whites white is no easy task. I am talking about white shirts, white sheets, white towels and so on. I have tried every conventional suggestion as well as the strange suggestions one can find on Pinterest or Facebook. The reason I try to do this is because no one wants to wear a white shirt with a stain in it, or use a kitchen towel that looks dirty due to stains. Stains can ruin the entire item. It is no longer considered clean.
In today’s chapter of Leviticus, we read about all kinds of regulations for people with skin diseases. God was laying out guidelines as to what “defiles” a person and would ‘disallow” them from entering His sanctuary due to “uncleanliness”. In other words, these diseases were like physical “stains” that made them no longer “clean” enough for God’s presence. Spiritually, sin does that exact same thing, except to our soul. Sin keeps a person eternally separated from God. That is the result of life in sin without forgiveness.
Along with definitions of clean and unclean, we see the priests in Chapter 13 repeatedly making a “pronouncement”. They let the rest of the people know publicly if a person was clean or unclean. Over 10 times in this chapter alone, the priest has to observe someone or something and then “pronounce” it clean or unclean. I only chose one example for today’s devotion, but look at this chapter and see for yourself. What did anyone who came to the priest hope and pray for? That hoped to be declared “clean”.
We live in a day and age far from the days of Leviticus. Pastor Curtis does not stand at the door of church and examine our skin before allowing us in to church. But God is there and he has completed the examination and made the pronouncement public. Romans 3:23 states; “For we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We failed the examination. Of course, the problem is, God still desires that we enter His presence in a “clean” state. As believers, we thankfully can do this. We were pronounced “clean” the moment we decided to allow the blood of Christ to cleanse us from our sins. This does not negate the “filthiness” of sin though. It can still get on us, stain us (just like my white shirts) and defile us. We need to continually be repenting of our sin, making sure we are not in a “chronic” state of sin (habitual sin) that is dirtying us. It is a good practice to go ahead and ask our priest, Jesus, to examine us with his Spirit daily, to reveal our sin and cleanse us from that. Why? Because just like stains on a white shirt ruin the whole shirt, sin in our life will ruin our lives. It will ruin our witness for Christ. It can ruin our personal fellowship and prayer life with God. It can ruin friendships. It is always a stainer and destroyer. God does not receive any glory from our lives when we are living in sin and not repenting of it. Each day that we are living in Christ, we are having our sin “stains” cleansed, and we are learning more about how to avoid those “stains” in the first place.
Can you or I think of a sin we were struggling with a year ago or 5 years ago, that we have repented of and God has helped us turn away from? Being able to look back and see how God is transforming us can be a great encouragement to continuing to press on in the faith. It is like pulling the terribly stained shirt out of the washer and finding that the stain-remover did its job. It is finding the stain is no longer there. Clothing is much more useful when the stains have been removed. We are much more useful to God too, as each of the stains of our sins are removed from our lives and we better reflect Christ’s pure image to those around us.