After going through a hundred house listings and attending a dozen Open Houses, we finally settled on buying our first home! The top item on my To-Do list for the last few weeks has been “Hunt for furniture deals”. My Pinterest homepage looks like an IKEA catalogue, each board dedicated to a specific part of my new home.
For a long time, I have pictured what my first home would look like: light wood floors, a rustic dining table, a cozy reading nook with lots of natural light pouring in. The works.
Now, an important part of this fantasy was to have a comfortable white couch. I know -- not the most practical option. But I wasn’t ready to give up my dream just yet. I sat in front of my laptop ready to find that handful of women on the worldwide web who have dared to take on The White Couch. All of them admitted that maintaining a white couch can be daunting. While some suggested keeping extra white slipcovers, others had a strict "no eating on the couch” policy. After hours of research, I am torn between my fantasy couch and the horror of having to scrub out curry stains from white upholstery.
But it did get me thinking. Why all the commotion, dedicated threads and blogs on keeping a white couch pristine? It isn’t that white attracts more dirt, just that the dirt sticks out against the white. Shades of black, brown and grey help you get away with a little grime, but white is unforgiving. (Even wearing white keeps you mindful of where you sit or what you lean against!)
It reminds me of the stark contrast of my sin against God's Holiness. Before I knew and understood the gospel, I was what the world would call a “good person”. I did well in school, didn't get into bad company, was an obedient child to my parents, and respected my elders. I genuinely believed I was a good person! Of course, I had the occasionally lying, jealousy, slamming the door in rebellion towards my mom, but in my head it wasn’t all that bad! Every kid did that!
What I compared myself against was the grey moral standards of the world, which have been ever-changing, as opposed to the absolute pristine standard of holiness set by a Holy God. I got away with my little dirty sins of the heart and mind, because no one ever really saw them. The grime wasn't that apparent against the grey of the world.
But, in my own heart, I was slowly but surely being convicted of how sinful my thoughts and actions were, and that God saw them all -- like curry on a white couch.
Isn't it amazing, then, that the power of Christ’s atoning sacrifice is to present us before the Father as spotless!
I remember a pastor asking a group of believers, "Are you a saint?" No one in the group claimed to be one. However, he explained, we are all positionally saints through Christ. In fact, we are referred to as His spotless bride!
As long as we are in this earthly flesh, we will constantly battle with sin. It is impossible to keep ourselves completely free of sin. But today the Father looks at us through His Son and declares us righteous. If my state of holiness solely depended on me, I would have a bigger problem than keeping a clean white couch! Yet
“ . . . Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:26-27).