A year ago we helped our daughter move into a new apartment. It was hotter and more humid than usual for the San Diego coast, but we couldn’t wait for better weather since her last year of university was about to start. Besides, this apartment was an answer to prayer.
First thing we did was pick up the moving van from the rental place, then straight to the storage unit where her things had been kept while she was in South Africa. Her unit was inside a two story warehouse, upstairs and down a long hallway lined with plywood walls and padlocked doors, and no ventilation. Our first trip to the unit (and there would be several as we loaded up the moving van and our mini van with her and her roommate’s beds, desks, boxes, crates, computers, kitchen supplies and more) wasn’t so bad. It was early in the day and the second story hallways were only moderately-stuffy-but-not-over-warm. By the time we unloaded at her apartment, the part about not being overly warm was behind us. The day was fixing to be a scorcher. I was fixing to sweat up a storm. We made two more trips to the storage unit, and on each trip the second floor of that warehouse got hotter and stuffier and stuffier and hotter. Me, I got sweatier and sweatier. Add in picking up a queen size sofa bed and a solid oak dining set she found on Craig’s list, and the day’s work got hotter while I got sweatier. Moving finally ended well into the evening. We headed for a restaurant my daughter liked, but first I saw a nearby Eddie Bauer store and told my wife and daughter I’d just be a minute.
The clearance racks had exactly what I was looking for: a pair of shorts and a T-shirt. The cashier asked me if I wanted a bag and I said I’d rather go into the changing room and put on the clean clothes I’d just bought. He let me into one and I swapped my sweat-soaked shirt and shorts for new ones. Much better. I considered dumping the old clothes into a trash bin, but instead crammed them into the bag the cashier gave me and went to join my wife and daughter. They both commented that I didn’t stink nearly as much now. Clean Clothes Aren’t Enough The Bible often uses clothing when discussing spiritual matters. Jesus told a parable of a wedding feast where one’s acceptance by the host is signified by wearing the right clothing (Matthew 22:1-14), and John’s vision of Heaven includes people in robes washed white through the sacrifice of Jesus. (Revelation 7:13-14.)
But is it all just a matter of wearing the right clothes? Does God really say, “Here, put this on and then you’ll be clean”? I think not. We are not merely clothed cleanly and correctly on the outside while underneath we are still full of stink (like me at the end of that moving day sitting down to eat with my wife and daughter). The clothes, rather, are a symbol of what has first happened to us through and through.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. (2 Corinthians 5:17-19.)
We are new creations, not just dirty sinners with some clean clothes on the outside. When God looks on you, he sees you clean through. Clean through from outside to inside to back out the other side. It is as Jesus said, though, that we need him to make this happen:
“Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” (John 13:8.)
Clean clothes alone are not enough. But being cleaned by Jesus is more than enough. He has made us new and clean from sin, with him forever.
[Please come back Wednesday to find out what happened on the second day of moving our daughter into her apartment.]