Do you know the panic of getting a stain on a beloved or brand new piece of clothing? Just ask Kerri Ann—this is my life. We have more Tide-to-Go sticks lying around our house than I can count, and yet they always seem empty when I need them! When I get something on my clothes there’s always that initial hope that maybe it won’t be that bad, maybe it will come out with some spit and elbow grease, maybe just a wet cloth, maybe in the wash. But when it’s grease, or ink, or grass, or some other foe of fabric, despair is soon to set it. You can labor for hours over the garment, using every method Grandma taught you or Google suggested, but it’s all to no avail. It’s ruined. The stain has set. Your favorite pair of pants, the only one dress that fits right, that suit you have loved for ages—ruined, done for, permanently marked for the whole world to see.
Now, forget about your clothes for a minute, because that’s actually the condition of your soul. Sin seeps into your soul like red wine on white carpet. It’s not going anywhere. It soaks in deep. Sin mars your soul that was once a beautiful semblance of the image of God. But now that is tainted. Now that is ruined, done for—you have been permanently marked for the whole world to see by your own filthy wickedness, impurity, and sin. You have been stained.
When our clothes are stained beyond repair there’s really not much more to do than to throw them out. Hmm… maybe that’s what we should do to your soul. Toss it. Discard it in the incinerator. After all, it’s useless, isn’t it? It’s spotted and ruined and who would have use of it now?
Well, this is where the Gospel changes things. Because in the Gospel we are presented with a stain-removing Savior, Jesus Christ. There is hope for your blemished, tarnished soul in His hands. Perhaps you believe that to be true about some sins. Some sins are easy to get out, you think. They’re not all that bad, you tell yourself. All you need is a little prayer. But then there are other sins that you can’t even bare to think on. Past sins that have damaged you so harshly, torn into you so thickly, stained you so deeply that you have convinced yourself there is no chance of cleanliness. But that’s not the message of the Gospel, my friends. For this is what Jesus tells you: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
Your Savior has done this for you. He has gotten His hands dirty to make your soul clean. He made himself filthy that you might be spotless once again. His robes for mine—the glorious exchange! Dear brother and sister, this is news you need to hear today: you are clean in Christ. “He the bonds of sin has severed by His death upon the tree. Our transgressions not remembered: cast into the deepest sea. Thought of never; gone forever—foulness turned to purity.”