It was embarrassing. Sometimes, I was ashamed for people to see. My little white house had a very pleasant front porch with white columns and railings. But, the columns and railings wouldn’t stay white. An unidentified mold or mildew slowly spotted the trim with black and gradually turned the porch a dull gray.
My life hasn’t remained clean either. One by one, misdeeds spotted my soul and turned it dingy and dull. It’s embarrassing. I would like to be pristine and sparkling clean. I don’t want anybody to see my mold.
There is good news for both my porch and my soul – and yours too. For my porch, it was amazing what a bribe to one of my kids and a mixture of bleach and warm water sprayed on my porch would do! It washed the mold right off.
There is an amazing wash for our souls, too. After meeting Jesus, Paul realized that he had persecuted the very son of God. Paul then saw clearly the stains on his soul – the most recent being his attempts to arrest Christians. Feeling his guilt, he prayed and fasted for three days (Acts 9:9,11).
But the stains remained! Praying didn’t remove them. Not until God’s messenger arrived did Paul hear the instructions that would rid his soul of his sin. “Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name” Ananias told him (Acts 22:16).
Ananias, sent by God, clearly believed that baptism was necessary for Paul to have his sins removed. Paul, the beneficiary of that instruction, obviously believed that, too. When he later taught Lydia, “The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message,” and “she and the members of her household were baptized” (Acts 16: 14-15).
When Paul taught about Jesus in Corinth, many who “heard him believed and were baptized” (Acts. 18:8). When he wrote to those believers later, Paul referred to the changes that had come to their previously sin-spotted lives: “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 Corinthians 6:11). Apparently, baptism was always part of Paul’s presentation of the good news of Jesus.
Bleach eliminates mold, but it doesn’t work sitting under the sink. It must be applied. The same is true of Jesus’ sacrifice. It’s powerful, but it must be applied. When our faith yields to his command to be baptized, God washes us clean and the spots are gone.
It’s great to have a clean porch. It’s so much better to have a clean conscience.