My car is in need of a wash. Actually, it’s BADLY in need of a wash. Body parts of at least ten different species of bugs are plastered to the front bumper and windshield. Road grime stains the sides because of all the rain we’ve had recently. The floorboards have traces of scattered sand from all my visits to the beach this summer. All-in-all, it’s sad that I’ve let it go this long without even running it through the five dollar carwash that’s up the road from my house.
But there’s a problem. My vehicle is 11 years old and has the dings and dents that are typically evident on a car its age. There are the minor scratches from my shopping companions at the local Wal-Mart. There’s also the large dent and cracked rear bumper where someone decided to back into me one day while I was at work. No matter how many times I run my vehicle through the carwash, those blemishes are still there for all to see. They’re reminders that my vehicle lacks the luster of a brand new car straight off the showroom floor.
Sometimes we think the same way in regards to ourselves and our relationship with God. When we come up out of the sin-cleansing waters of baptism, we’re excited to feel brand new. We go into the world with a renewed lease on life and a hope of better days to come, confident in our standing with God. Only later, we realize sin is still a tough thing to stay away from and it seems that temptation lurks around every corner. Pretty soon, we’re convinced that we are damaged goods after all. I mean, you can put a pig in a dress, but it’s still a pig right?
But that’s not how God’s redemptive grace works. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We’re not just cleansed by our faith and obedience in Christ only to become dirty again the very next day. We are made new, as if the dents and scratches and rust of our hard-lived lives were never there. And not just new. We’re made better! It’s as if I take my old Toyota Rav4 to the carwash and drive out in a brand new Corvette Stingray. We’re given all the upgrades and fine-tuning needed to be the kind of Christian God calls us to be (Hebrews 13:21, 2 Peter 1:3).
Remember to live your life every day as if you’ve been made new by the blood of Jesus. Don’t dwell on the imperfections and mistakes of the past because God doesn’t remember them (Hebrews 8:8-12). Realize that you are a new creation, clothed in Christ, having put on his perfection and righteousness.