Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Filthy Rags

Isaiah 64:6

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

IMG_0301Recently I was cleaning my garage (my wife likes a clean garage – I’ve argued it is a garage to no avail – so I clean it periodically).  As I was cleaning the garage – I found a rag that I had used in numerous cleaning endeavors.  It was soaking wet with oil – with dirt – with dust – etc.  As I picked up this dirty – filthy rag – today’s passage came to mind.

I believe that some of us think our sins aren’t as bad as our neighbor’s sin.  Some may think that because they go to church – because they may support the ministry of the church (time, talent, money, prayers) – they are not as bad as others.  Some might even have had a hard time imagining that their sin could ever come close to what happened recently at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. – could it?

This line of thinking only works if we are judged on some scale my friend.  It only works if we somehow need to fall in the top 50% (top 50% equals those with less sin) of sinners to qualify for heaven or blessing.  As today’s passage came to mind – all our righteous acts are like filthy rags – I realized that my good deeds – my righteous acts – the things that I might think put me in the top 50% somehow – are still far from what God wants and expects from me.  I am in need of God’s grace.  My righteousness is like filthy rags to God.

As I thought about this a little longer – the following story from Christ came to mind.

Luke 18:9-14 – 9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men — robbers, evildoers, adulterers — or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Lord – make me more like the Tax Collector – who knew his sins were many and that he stood in the need of mercy – of God’s grace – rather than somehow thinking that my sins are less than someone else’s – or that my good deeds outweigh my bad ones.  Lord – help me to understand that even the smallest sin – in the eyes of men and women – is enough to balance the scales to my eternal detriment and that I stand in the need of God’s grace!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.


June 26, 2015 - Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , ,

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