The Right Tool for the Job

We recently made the long trek back to our home in Papua, Indonesia after a summer furlough in the States. Usually our family spends a few days finding space for the new supplies we have brought back with us, and sorting through the existing things in our closets and cabinets. Out with the old and in with the new. In the same way, it’s a time to reflect on and evaluate our old routines and prepare for the new term that is sprawled out before us.

As I was sitting on the bathroom floor pondering where to fit some mascara and deodorant in the tiny cabinet under the sink, I glanced down at the tile closer to the toilet. My eyes fell upon familiar dirty looking spots. “Look at this junk on the floor!” I said to Dave, narrowing my eyes. “You know it’s been there since we moved into this house 8 years ago!” My voice was edged with a hint of disgust.

The junk I was referring to was simply the remains of some caulk or other sealant that was used at one time to repair something in the bathroom. Smudges of it got onto the tile floor and were never cleaned up. When the floor is mopped you don’t see them because they are clear, but as dirt collects onto the slightly sticky surface, the spots magically reappear.

The residual spots on the tile floor

Seeing those spots through eyes fresh from furlough, I realized how dirty they made the floor look. A surge of determination went through me and I asked Dave, “Do you have a razor or something that I could use to scrape that stuff off the floor?”

“I have something that should work just as well,” he replied, then turned and headed to his workshop to retrieve the tool. He returned and handed me a black handled putty knife. “This should do the trick,” he said with a smile. I took the putty knife, bent down and began to use its sharpest edge against the dirty remains of the caulk or glue. Little pieces began to flake off. It did take some effort, but finally what had been the first spot was only tiny little pieces of flaked off junk.

“Can you believe that it’s been on there for 8 years and it’s always bugged me and yet I have never tried to find the right tool for the job?!” I said staring down at the little pieces. I had tried a few times using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, but that just didn’t work so well. And then the spots would be forgotten about in the whirlwind of life.

All at once it struck me that in our human nature, we can tend to deal with our sins the same way I had dealt with the spots. We try something we think might work to get rid of them—like distracting ourselves with activity after activity, or trying to cover them up by doing good works—only to find that when the dirt starts to collect in our lives, they become glaringly visible again. We find ourselves right back where we started — caught in that same sin or even a different one. We haven’t found the right tool for the job.

God teaches us through the Bible that there is only one way to deal with our sins—the blood of Jesus. God in His abundant grace has made a way for us to find cleansing and forgiveness for our sins. Our forefathers Adam and Eve didn’t deserve to be forgiven. Their disobedience to God’s commands actually deserved judgment and eternal separation from God. Yet God, in His mercy and grace covers their sin by shedding the blood of an animal, also providing them with garments of animal skin (Genesis 3:21), and promises that the woman’s offspring will crush the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15).

Many years later, that promised deliverer came. Jesus fulfilled the prophecy. Through the shedding of his blood in death, he forever crushed the power of Satan and death and sin. Only the blood of Christ has the power to completely and finally deal with our sins. Jesus’ blood is the right tool for the job. What a gracious God we have who would give the most precious thing He had to purchase our salvation!

“Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”

Hebrews 9:22b ESV

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

1 John 1:7 NIV

“[Jesus] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

1 John 2:2 NIV

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