‘Tis close to Spring. Aren’t you glad winter with all its germs is close to an end? I am. Spring is right around the corner and many homeowners in my neighborhood are already putting down new mulch. When we put down new mulch, it looks good for a while–great actually! But by the time next year rolls around, it looks drab and dead. That’s because it is. Mulch is not alive. Weatherbeaten and sun-bleached, it loses its color.
I think there’s a spiritual lesson here. The sin that dwells in our lives is drab, rotting and disgusting. But instead of removing it, we often cover it over with something that looks a little better. We replace lust with pride. We replace pride with self-righteousness. You get the idea. Sometimes, we do better than that. We replace a sin with something good. We look better for a time. But then the goodness fades, and we return to old habits and behaviors. In reality we are just covering up something dead with something else that is dead—painted, colorful today, but not alive.
What we need is to repent. To overcome sin, we don’t need to do better, be cleaner, or act nicer. Rather, we need our sin to be cleansed and removed. You and I are not spiritually capable of doing this. We need Someone else–the only One who can–Jesus. As believers, we know that we needed Jesus to forgive us of our sin when we came to faith. But did you also know that you need Jesus for your sanctification today? Our part in dealing with sin is to repent and pursue the righteousness of Christ. It is Christ’s job to cleanse, to cover and to replace the old with the new, the dead with the alive, the unholy with the holy.
Believers, we need the gospel and its activity in our lives today as much as we did when we came to faith in Christ. If you have a sin, don’t try to cover it. Expose it to God in repentance and confession. Let him cleanse and cover it with the gospel. The gospel is good news for a reason. It is the good news that Jesus can forgive, cleanse and make new. That’s a promise for you today, just like it was the day you came to faith in Jesus.
For a biblical framework on this thought, read Paul’s explanations on sin, forgiveness and cleansing in Romans chapters 6-8.