I live in a part of Bridgend called Brackla but I attend a church in a small village called Aberkenfig, about a 10 minute drive away. I’ve been part of the church for 34 years and have come to realise that the people who live in Aberkenfig, and neighbouring Tondu, are on the whole wonderful people. Apart from those who have visited the church I’ve met many more while out delivering prescriptions in the early days of the pandemic. I’m a member of the Tondu and Aberkenfig Hub on Facebook and having read many posts I think I know what is the greatest gripe of the residents.

 

It’s rubbish. Nothing will spark off a greater conversation like rubbish, and in fairness it does appear to be justified. Tondu and Aberkenfig seem to have constant problems with having rubbish picked up on time, or at all. I have to say that’s not the same where I live, we have a very efficient service from the same providers, so something is definitely going wrong in Tondu and Aberkenfig.

 

We all hate seeing rubbish lying around, fly tipping, takeaway bags that have been ejected from car windows, dog poop bags, but there’s nothing worse than our own rubbish being left out and not collected. We imagine it building up, the stench it could give off, the vermin it could attract, the birds pecking at the bags and dragging rubbish across the street which we then have to pick up. Rubbish is just awful. That’s why we are so keen to get rid of it, and as soon as possible.

 

We also hate being dirty don’t we. I’m the generation that had a bath once a week but now it’s a daily shower. We’ve just changed our bathroom into a shower room and had to go two weeks without a shower. We managed with stand up washes, a throwback to the past, but I can’t tell you how nice it was to get into the new shower when the work was completed, it was bliss.

 

Dirt on us, dirt around us, it’s absolutely horrible, but do you realise that’s pretty much a description of our condition before God? It’s what sin has done to us, it’s made us dirty. As a human race we have dirty hands from the blood we’ve shed, never God’s intention for us. We have dirty minds that imagine grosser and grosser evil. We have dirty little secrets that shame us. We have dirty feet from walking over people and treating them as dirt itself. We know this is true and wouldn’t it be wonderful to rid ourselves of the dirt and be clean?

 

Sadly we can’t. God has commented on our efforts. He says, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” (1) Our righteous acts, our attempts to do the right thing, are commendable but they don’t remove the dirt from us. They don’t begin to match God’s perfect standard of cleanliness. We are seen in his eyes as people wearing filthy rags, but we don’t have to despair. God sees us as we are and he loves us so much that he deals with our sin, removing the dirt from us. He does it by placing the sin on someone else, his son Jesus who voluntarily came from heaven to die for us. The Bible says ,” God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2) Jesus who had no sin, and was perfectly clean, was made to be sin. He was made to be this horrible, disgusting, vile thing when he was punished for our sins. When we accept him as our Saviour we are made clean. Our sins are washed from us and we are clothed in God’s righteousness. No more filthy rags. No more the dirt of sin clinging to us.

 

The Bible says, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” (3) Scarlet and crimson are meant to be immovable dyes that won’t ever wash out. They’re a good metaphor for the sin that clings to us and makes us dirty, but God will wash away all our sin and make us perfectly clean if we trust in Jesus and acknowledge that he died for us. You can be cleansed from all your sin and made as white as newly fallen snow; white as the whitest wool.

 

Bible References:

  • Isaiah 64:6
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21
  • Isiaiah 1:18