Dirty Laundry

Ever had a piece of clothing you were wearing get a stain on it that you couldn’t wash out? Doesn’t it usually happen with your favorite piece of clothing? It’s like, of all of the things you could be wearing, it had to happen to this particular outfit—right? I’ve worn clothes that are true stain-magnets, especially white or very light-colored ones. I usually can’t wear a light-colored shirt or shorts for more than one day, if that long, without getting some noticeable spot or stain on it. Even stain-resistant clothing wears out to the point that it becomes ‘stain attractant’ clothing! There seems to always be that one stain that never comes out regardless of the treatment used to remove it. I used to be one to try all kinds of stain removal methods: baking soda, dish soap, vinegar, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, shampoo, stain removal sticks and liquids, etc. Some worked sometimes, but most did not. As a result, a favorite item of clothing was usually downgraded to either sleep clothes, or more often, a rag.

Did you know that dirty rags are mentioned in the Bible? Look in chapter 64 in the book of Isaiah, verse 6, and you’ll see the following:

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”

Notice that it says “our righteousnesses” [meaning trying to be righteous our own way] are as filthy rags. God is saying here that, no matter what method we use to try to make ourselves right or clean before Him, we will always be dirty or “filthy.” There is no way that we can make our self right enough to come before a holy God. We can read the Bible or any holy book from cover to cover. We can go to a church or some other religious institution numerous times a week. We can abstain from certain foods or even fast for extensive periods. We can pray a prescribed prayer, or chant words over and over again. We can make pilgrimages to distant lands and shrines.

We can volunteer or do some kind of humanitarian effort. We can give infinite amounts of money to charities, etc., all over the world. Yet none of these will make us more righteous before God; we will still be as “filthy rags.”

Why is this? Because we were tainted from the very beginning of our lives. We were born in sin. From the moment Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command in the Garden of Eden, up to the present time, we have been separated from God due to sin. There is nothing that we can do on our own that will erase the sin or filthiness from our lives and be able to come into God’s holy presence.

At this point the situation seems hopeless—and it is hopeless—unless God provides a solution. Thankfully, He did do just that, through His Son Jesus. Through the death of Jesus, and by His blood that was shed on the cross, we now have a way to be made clean. In the book of Hebrews, chapter 9, verse 22, we read, “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission [taking away of sin].” Only the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross over 2000 years ago can cleanse us of our sins and make us right before God.

We must accept and believe in faith in what Jesus did for us at the cross, or we will remain as “filthy rags” forever.

Are you willing to let Jesus cleanse you of your sins (your wrongdoings against God)? God is holy and cannot accept you as His child unless you repent (turn away completely from your sins and go in the opposite direction) of that which is unholy, and let Him cleanse you of all of your unrighteousness through Jesus’ precious shed blood. Don’t keep trying on your own to make your “filthy rags” clean; there is no stain remover on this earth that can remove the filthiness in your heart. Give your heart to Jesus and let Him cleanse you once and for all.

–James Pangburn

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