I went into a hardware store to purchase some glue. I want to glue a piece of carpeting on the base of the paper roll cylinder I made for Jenny. The assistant helped me purchase a 1 liter tub of carpet glue. As I took it off the shelf, the container’s handle broke and the tub fell onto the floor with much of the glue running onto the tiles. What a mess! The assistant said: “Don’t worry sir. I’ll get a cleaner to sort this out.” I was so happy because glue sticks as it dries and it’s very hard to remove. Almost a liter of glue on white tiles. Scary!
This made me think of something else. I thought about the mess of one’s life (myself). The dirt and grim and muck the Bible calls sin–evil and wickedness that so covers one’s life that it sticks and holds one captive–is glued to the world and is God’s enemy. The conscience is such a delicate thing once it knows right from wrong. When confronted with rebellion against God and we choose that way, the Holy Spirit has this unique method of infiltrating the conscience, exposing our sin and making us feel awful and dirty. That’s the sign the glue is settling and sticking and trapping us in bondage. Because of our inability of rectifying this, the tendency to slip further and further into the mud and mire is so easy. The glue of sin sticks … captivates … holds us trapped in bondage to the master of the glue of sin.
There is absolutely nothing we can do about this condition. Some try to improve themselves … that is, make themselves better people to feel better. Often people go to psychologists and even psychiatrists because of the weight of this condition. Sometimes, they are told the problem is not theirs, it’s their parents, their social condition or their general environment. Other times, people flock to alcohol, tobacco, drugs or sex. There are those who seek self-help books to boost their image or ‘adjust’ their mindset from negative to positive. Many flock to some religion or the other to be their comfort and support. Often religion, even the Christian religion, might only be used to appease one’s conscience and improve one’s morals and be seen as a religious person (a “holy Joe”).
But you need to see that these things are all cosmetic. It’s like covering the glue with a piece of cardboard or carpet or place a few boxes over it so that no one can see the mess. Cosmetic surgery cannot sort out the problem. That glue from the store needed urgent attention. The cleaner needed to lift the glue as best as possible and then use a solvent to lift the remnants off the white tiles. In the same way, there is only one method to deal with my sin, the spiritual grim and muck that soaks my person before God making me detestable and rejected. The only way to get a spiritual clean-up to access the Holy God is through His carefully shaped salvation plan. That plan is exclusively through the substitutional blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
There are two ways … the one “once” and the other “ongoing”.
Firstly, there is initial salvation:
Heb 10:19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body…
This refers to the moment we confess sin and repent, turning away from the world, the flesh and the devil … turning to Jesus Christ for pardon and salvation.
When I say “initial salvation”, I am referring to the moment of conversion. That’s the moment you receive the new birth and God in grace and mercy places you into His eternal kingdom. He delivers you from the clutches of the evil one, writes your name in the register of heaven and guarantees you a place in His heaven.
Secondly, there is ongoing salvation, or, if you like, proof of salvation:
1Jn 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1Jn 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
Just as taking a bath or having a shower every day to remove the bodily dirt gathered during the previous day, so there is a need for believers to confess sin daily and be cleansed so that we may walk in holy fellowship with God and His people. This refers to ongoing salvation, or, through this process of faith I am proving to myself that I am saved, being saved and will be saved … and all the glory goes to the Triune God.
Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your amazing salvation, cleaning all that sin and filth from my account and dealing with it yourself. You are so amazing. I don’t deserve such mercy and grace. Thank you for cleaning my mess for me. Amen.