Not Only Forgiven, But Washed! And What A Washing!

In high school we put on the play “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare. Lady Macbeth and her husband commit murders and other crimes. In one scene she sleepwalks through the castle, hallucinating and rubbing her hands together trying to get rid of blood on her hands. There is no actual blood on her hands, but she sees blood and cries “Out, damned spot! Out, I say!” but can’t get rid of the blood. That is an incredible picture of our guilt for sin and need of forgiveness and washing. And when God saves us, he does both: forgives us and washes us clean:

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. HEB 10.22

God “sprinkles clean” our hearts and consciences and washes our “bodies” “with pure water,” meaning he cleanses our whole being. David realized his need for cleansing after he committed adultery with Bathsheba and arranged her husband’s death:

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. PS 51.7

The blood of Jesus Christ makes us “whiter than snow”, spiritually pure and completely acceptable in God’s sight.

We need God to wash us because we can’t hide our sins from God, as David discovered. Once my Grandma did something she thought she could hide from my Grandpa, but found out she wouldn’t be able to. She took my little sister Jan fishing, and at one point, jerked back on the line trying to snag a fish, and the hook flew through the air and landed on my sister’s lower lip. Fortunately, it didn’t hurt her. But Grandma didn’t want Jan to tell Grandpa what happened, so she said, “Don’t tell Grandpa. This will just be our little secret.” That night at bedtime Jan wanted to stay up later, but Grandma said “No honey, time for bed.” Then Jan said, “Grandma, remember our little secret!”

Even if no one else knows about our secret sin, God does:

For my eyes are on all their ways. They are not hidden from me, nor is their iniquity concealed from my eyes. JE 16.17

The problem is we can’t cleanse ourselves by feeling sorry, or trying to be good. That’s why David cried out to God to “purge me” and to “wash me.” He knew he could never cleanse himself.

God provided the solution for our sin-stained hearts:

“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.” IS 1.18

God promised that even though our sins glare like scarlet in his sight, HE would make us white as snow and pure as wool. For God himself would wash us and cleanse us:

“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” Is 43.25

But how did God do this?

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. REV 7.13-14

The blood of Jesus washes us and makes us pure and white in God’s sight!

When we put all our faith and trust in Jesus and his work on the cross, he saves us, washes us and makes pure the Father’s sight. He not only washes us but gives us a whole new identity:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 CO 6.9-11

What a washing! Not only did Jesus wash our sins away, he washed our old identity away – Such WERE some of you. BUT YOU WERE WASHED!

WHAT A WASHING! We’re cleansed by the blood of Jesus, new creations who can stand before the Holy One knowing he sees us as holy – sanctified and clean. We don’t have to listen to the voice of Satan saying, “Remember our little secret! Remember that sin you did. The stain is still there.” We don’t have to languish in guilt like Lady Macbeth. We’ve been cleansed by the blood of Jesus.

Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.