Is It Wash Day?

Written By: Chris Mace

Is It Wash Day?
Wash Day on Monhegan Island, Maine

Whether by some personal, habitual imperative or by an impulse, it is wash day! Despite the fog, the laundry is clean and hanging out in fresh, soggy, salty air. Maybe optimism or urgency will force the sun to shine? But sun or no sun, the wash is done!

Clothing is a familiar biblical metaphor because God is in the laundry and cleaning business. He “neither slumbers or sleeps”, is open to our need 24/7, and doesn’t care what time of day, stage of life, or weather condition when we bring our dirty laundry to Him. In fact, he urges us to become clean at the moment of realization that we need forgiveness. (2Corinthians 6:2; Isaiah 45:22)

Garments are used as spiritual symbols for sin or righteousness depending on their dirty or clean condition. God invited Judah and Jerusalem to consider their sinful, oppressive injustices and lack of compassion and to be washed clean: “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. (Isaiah 1:16-20 (NLT2)

Israel needed God’s interventional scrubbing to make them clean, to make them righteous. Righteousness comes through the activity of God within men and women who respond to Him in repentance and belief. That is a foundational doctrine in Judeo-Christian theology. All self effort, all human “righteousness, is just like a bag of “filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6-7) King David understood this as he invoked God to renew his spirit and “create a clean heart” within him. (Psalm 51:10)

We are capable of doing good things, being kind and just and generous and gracious and merciful, but from human hearts flow not only goodness but corrupt attitudes and behaviors which need cleansing. (Mark 7:21-23) Those thoughts are carried into the continuing redemptive story recorded in the New Testament where the early Church knew that “Not by works of righteousness that we have done but by his mercy he has saved us.” We miss the mark of righteousness and need Christ’s perfect, sacrificial intervention at the cross for us.

Jesus told his disciples that they had become clean or purified by responding to his message calling for belief and repentance. (John 3:16; John 15:1-4)(Luke 15:5) (Mark 1:15) The Apostle John recognized that redemptive process when he said that Jesus’ sacrifice (meaning the actual shedding of his blood to take our condemnation) atones, and “ if we confess our sins to (God), he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:6-9)

Is it wash day? Every day is! Every moment of every day, God is ready to do our washing. We just need to take it to Him.

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