A Warranty of Grace
I tend to be a bit of a “clean freak.” I am cheered by organized closets. The smell of Pine-Sol takes me to my happy place. And I find something life-giving about vacuum lines. (Okay, maybe “clean freak” is too harmless of a term for my disorder.)
We recently replaced all the windows in our house. After 32 years, it was time. Not only was it a wise decision for energy efficiency, the new windows were made in a way that made cleaning them easier from both inside and outside. This is very important when it comes time for the annual fall cleaning of my windows. (Did I mention I have a disorder?)
When the job was accomplished, the workmen were very careful about leaving all of the windows sparkling clean. I was delighted! However, about an hour after they left, I noticed a spot on the window in my kitchen. Upon closer inspection, it was actually several spots. Nothing large – all about the size of a pin head, but still. I immediately grabbed the Windex.
First, I worked from the inside. No luck. No worries; I simply brought my cleaning rag outside. Still no luck. I think I must have gone from the inside of the window to the outside of the window three times, furiously trying to remove the spot. No matter how hard I wiped or what cleaning solution I used, nothing I did made a difference.
I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. Romans 7:21-25
As is true for every descendant of Eve and Adam, I am a broken human, scarred by sin and lost in my depravity. So, does that make me naturally fall to my knees in surrender, realizing I have no way of making myself clean? No sir! I pick up my bottle of outward goodness along with my rag of self-righteousness, and I go to work! I put some effort in the inside by eating a vegetarian diet, drinking the required amount of water, maybe even attempting the occasional raw food detox cleanse. Then I get started on the outside: faithful church attendance, posting inspiring Scriptures on social media, maybe delivering groceries to my elderly neighbors.
Though all of these things may be worthwhile and beneficial to my life, they’re completely worthless as an attempt to cleanse my soul and remove the guilt of humanity’s sin. My “spots” aren’t going anywhere if this is my plan for removing them.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:8-10