There are few things on earth that are harder to clean off of yourself than blacktop sealant. I helped a friend do that to his driveway once. Besides getting it all over my hands I had splotches of tar looking like my own collection of moles running up and down my leg.
I tried water. Nothing. Soap and water. Still nothing. Mineral spirits and lots of elbow grease later, I was able to see parts of my hands – rubbed completely raw from the cleanup effort.
Truth is: Blacktop sealant is nothing compared to sin.
Go ahead. Try all you want. Try to clean up your day to day actions. Try the newest shampoo, the toughest grease fighting soap, and the stain fighting power of Dawn! Nothing will happen. Try living a better life and doing 'good' things and it will not erase the mess of sin that you have already committed.
Good works are about as useless against sin as a Shamwow!
There’s only one cleansing element that promises to completely cleanup the messiness of our sins. Baptism.
Now that doesn’t make a lot of sense does it? Isn't baptism just water while the pastor says some Bible things? How can that water do such incredible things? How can it clean up where these chemical agents fail? How can it affect the soul? How can water -- any type of water at all -- be applied to the outside of a person and somehow make the person clean?
If ever there was someone who might be nervous that this wouldn’t work, it was a man named Saul. His sins – at least from a human perspective – were disgusting. He had persecuted Christians. He had thrown them into jail. He had hated Jesus and looked on approvingly at the murders of Jesus’ followers. These sins had left a deep stain in his inner soul.
To make matters worse, he had just met this Jesus! He was not dead, but alive. Meaning, that Saul now realized he had been persecuted people for following the true God!
I imagine Saul felt alot of this guilt as he sat in the home of Ananias -- a man who knew of Saul's sins so well that he was intially frightened to even spend time with him.
But Ananias was directed by God. He came to Saul and spoke these words -- “Now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away.”
Saul did just that. And his sins were completely washed away!
Baptism is powerful stuff. It isn't because of any chemical agents or all natural cleansers. It is because of the Almighty word of promise attached to it. It is because of God's Word:
“Go and make disciples…baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Mt. 28:19)
Better than washing with soap and water. Better than washing with chemicals. Better than any kind of cleaning agent on the planet. God's Word and promise wash us completely clean. Because when you are baptized, you are washed with water and God's eternal promise of love! A promise fulfilled in the death of Jesus Christ himself.
There isn’t any sin Jesus can’t handle. No matter what you’ve done. No matter what guilt you hold onto. No matter what awful things haunt you on a daily basis – Jesus washes away all of these sins in Baptism!
To be fair, this is only the beginning of the blessings promised in Baptism. Yet, may I ask, do you need in more? You have God’s divine promise of the divine washing that baptism gives. God doesn’t lie. In fact, he died to make this promise a reality.
So, why wait? Why not be baptized into the name of the Lord? Why not receive this incredible cleansing?
As Ananias told Paul: “What are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away!”
PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you so much for my baptism. Thank you for hte promise of cleansing attached to it. Thank you for washing my sins away. Please help me to marvel at the blessings of my baptism this week and always. Amen.
BAPTISM SUNDAY IS THIS SUNDAY AT 10:30AM! Plan to be there.