BY JORDAN MAYER
"'Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.'"
Have you ever felt burdened by your sin? Felt the tremendous weight of all your wrongdoing resting heavy on your shoulders? When we give our lives to Christ, we lay that burden at the foot of the Cross. And yet, I've come to realize I have a tendency to want to pick it back up again.
I remember a time when I was younger, although I can't recall what age, when I became obsessed with being clean. I don't mean a general concern for hygiene, but a kind of irrational need to keep my hands clean. Throughout the day I would find myself washing my hands constantly. I'm not certain how long this went on for, whether it was days or weeks. But it wasn't until the watchful eye of my mom spotted my odd behavior that I even realized what I was doing.
In some strange, bizarre way, my need to keep myself clean was tied to a time in my life where my sin weighed heavily upon me. I was feeling so burdened that I felt I needed a way to take care of it. It was in this chapter of my life that I felt the true power of the Gospel wash over me. While I had already committed my life to Christ, I think maturing in our faith involves these moments where what we know to be true in our minds becomes real in our hearts and lives. I knew that Christ had died for my sins, I believed it, but it was in this moment that I saw its power in my life.
This verse from Isaiah provides such a powerful image of what Jesus has accomplished for us. As a kid, my parents always used the analogy of a piece of paper. Our sin is like an ugly black dot on a pristine, white sheet of paper. By our own efforts, we may try many different ways to remove or cover up that black dot. And yet nothing truly works. But Christ doesn't simply hide or cover up our sin, He completely washes it clean. That ugly black dot vanishes and what is left is a perfectly clean page. Our sin, which once stood out in stark red, is made as pure as freshly fallen snow and as clean as a coat of wool. In Psalms, we are told that He removes our transgressions as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12) and Micah 7:19 tells us He casts our sins into the depths of the sea. And, in case we are worried He might bring them up again, the Lord promises to remember our sins no more (Isaiah 43:25). What wonderful promises to cling to!
If you find yourself weighted down by your sin, allow the full weight of the Gospel to rest on your shoulders instead. Romans 1:16 reminds us that the Gospel "is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes...". Christ bore the full weight of our sin so that we wouldn't have to. Leave what was accomplished at the foot of the Cross and don't pick it up again. Jesus invites us to accept a new yoke and a new burden, but His is a little different. "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).