Those who are allergic to long lines might want to avoid shopping
areas the day after Christmas. Stores have learned to expect lots of
returned gifts on that day. That sweater doesn't fit? Take it back.
The toy doesn't work? Return it for a refund. The past can be erased
in a matter of minutes.
That principle doesn't apply in all areas of life. An example was
reported by the Associated Press on December 16. The PNC Bank in West
Newton, PA was robbed on December 9. The bank received an envelope a
couple of days ago filled with most of the money that was stolen. No
amount was given in the story, but the money represented about 80% of
what had been taken.
Whether returned by the robber or by a family member or friend, the
thief is not off the hook. Even if all of the money was returned,
they're still guilty of the crime. Guilt can't be returned for a full
The arrest and condemnation of Jesus Christ was one of the greatest
miscarriages of justice of all time. Pontius Pilate was the governor
in charge of Jesus' case, and he concluded that the charges against
Him were baseless (Luke 23:14,15). Justice demanded that one who had
been tried and found innocent should be set free. But the demands of
justice were shouted down by the demands of the mob gathered before
Fearing a riot and the bad report that would get back to his
superiors, Pilate caved in to the desire of Jesus' enemies and ordered
Him to be executed. One final statement of protest was made, however:
"When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a
tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the
multitude, saying, 'I am innocent of the blood of this just Person.
You see to it'" (Matthew 27:24).
Pilate's desperate act of self-justification did nothing to improve
the verdict of history against him. If anything, it confirmed his
cowardice before the mob. He obviously saw the injustice of the
situation but did nothing to correct it.
It works the same with us. We each are guilty of falling short of the
standard of God's laws (Romans 3:23). As violators of heaven's
statutes, we face a terrible prospect (Romans 6:23). Will we attempt
to wash our hands and insist that our sins were mere mistakes, and
we're returning our sins for a refund? No, the stain left by sin will
remain, despite our frenzied attempts to remove it.
Only one cure for iniquity has ever been found. John wrote about it
in the Revelation God gave to him. When questioned about the identity
of multitudes wearing clean white robes, John was told, "... These are
the ones who came out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes
and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Revelation 7:14).
Jesus' blood is the only agent available for removing the guilt of
The cleansing power of that blood is available today, just as it was
for Saul (later renamed Paul): "And now why are you waiting? Arise
and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the
Lord" (Acts 22:16). The act of baptism - immersing an individual
under water for a moment or two - can do what water could not do for
Pilate. (See also Acts 2:38 and Mark 16:16.)
Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him
in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you'd like
to discuss these ideas further.
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