I couldn’t believe it. A blue gel pen had hidden itself in the folds of my white towels and survived the washing machine, only to explode in the dryer. Ugly blue stains were everywhere. My white towels were ruined. No amount of bleach would be able to remove the dark stains.
As I reluctantly consigned the towels to the rag pile, I was reminded of the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah’s lament describing the damaging effects of sin. By rejecting God and turning to idols (Jeremiah 2:13), Jeremiah declared that the people of Israel had caused a permanent stain in their relationship with God: “‘Although you wash yourself with soap and use an abundance of cleansing powder, the stain of your guilt is still before me,’ declares the Sovereign
On our own, it is impossible to remove the stain of our sin. But Jesus has done what we could not. Through the power of His death and resurrection, He “purifies [believers] from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
Even when it’s hard to believe, cling to this beautiful truth: there’s no damage from sin that Jesus can’t totally remove. God is willing and ready to wash away the effects of sin for anyone willing to return to Him (v. 9). Through Christ, we can live each day in freedom and hope.
Where do you go with your guilt? How might you live differently today knowing that Jesus’s death has the power to completely remove the guilt and “stain” of your sin?
There are several different words for sin in Scripture, each with its own meaning. In today’s reading, Jeremiah uses a word which means “bad” or “evil” and is often used to denote something that has a negative effect. However, while definitions give us a technical understanding of what sin is, they often fail to paint an adequate image of its reality.
In today’s passage, Jeremiah uses four metaphors to describe the detestable nature of Israel’s sin against God—digging cisterns (v. 13), breaking yoke and bonds (v. 20), prostitution (v. 20), and a wild vine (v. 21). When we describe sin as just “missing the mark” (it was a good shot but not perfect), it’s easier to justify. But the image of prostitution to describe our sin is more difficult to gloss over. Jeremiah says Israel’s actions were so heinous that no matter how they tried to clean themselves, their guilt remained.