by Joy Martin, Set Me Free Ministries Co-founder
I am a 36-year-old, white, middle-class woman. I am a wife and a mom. I stay home with my kiddos and work from home as a freelance editor. Although I don't have everything I want, I have everything I need and more. I am also a Christian.
I am not, nor have I ever been, a horrible person. I have lived a pretty benign life. I've never broken any major laws. I've never killed anyone, never even been in a fight.
But I am far from perfect.
As a child, I disobeyed my parents–more times than I can count, really. I have lied. I have stolen.
You see, I'm not a horrible person, but I'm not a wonderful person either. I am human. I am a sinner, no better and no worse than anyone else. The only thing of significance that sets me apart is that I have a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe. As such, I am a child of God, washed clean and made new through the blood of Jesus. I am no longer the person I once was, because I am a new creation in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."
I have already laid out for you who I am in the most basic human terms. I know I am fortunate. I know I have lived a pretty boring life. And yet, I needed a Savior in the same way you need a Savior, in the same way every human needs a Savior. I need a Savior because I am human and am therefore a sinner, as I noted earlier.
Life is not always easy. Life is not always fun. But despite any kinks in the road, I know my Redeemer lives, and I know that I can turn to Him in times of trial and tribulation. And I know that when I screw up again (and I will, probably later today), I can repent and ask for forgiveness, and I will receive it.
I realize that people may be quick to comment, "Yeah, that's easy for her to say. I mean, she didn't have a tough life." But what I want each of you to know is that the beauty of redemption is that the end result is always the same: you end up white as snow, no matter how dirty you were before.
I'm about to get real here to make a point.
I have been a Christian since I was a child. I was raised in a Christian home. I have been taught about sexual purity since I first learned about sex. And yet, I made the choice to have sex before I was married. I knew it wasn't God's best plan for me, but to be honest, that wasn't my biggest concern at the time. I was in college. I was with the man I knew I was going to marry, even though we weren't engaged at the time. I had saved myself, vowing I wouldn't have sex before I was married. But when it came down to it, I gave into my fleshly desires.
Since that time, I have repented for what I now realize was sin. And because I have repented, I have been forgiven and washed clean. I no longer carry any shame or guilt of my past sins because of God's grace.
It's so easy to dismiss my story of sin as not a big deal. After all, I've only been with my husband, even though we did have sex before our marriage. That's not so bad, right? It's not like I slept around. It's not like I was a prostitute or anything.
But here's what's so important to understand: None of that matters. The fact is that I sinned. I made a decision that my way was better than God's way in that moment. In doing so, I committed the sin of fornication.
In Mark 7:20-23, Jesus says the following: “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
I needed redemption because I had committed a sin–end of story. Did you notice how fornication is wrapped up in the same list as murder, theft, and blasphemy? If you didn't before, look again. I'll wait.
Let that sink in for a minute, because here's what you need to know: When I was redeemed through the blood of Christ, my sins were wiped away. I was made clean. But the truth is that even if I had been a prostitute–even if I had been a drug-addicted prostitute who had killed someone–I would still have received the same forgiveness.
The beauty of redemption is that the result is the same each and every time. You are made white as snow. Period.
Isaiah 1:18 says: "'Come now, and let us reason together,' Says the Lord, 'Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.'"
There is no qualifier there. There is no exception to the rule. Because when you are redeemed through the blood of Christ, you ARE a new creation. Psalm 103:12 puts it like this: "As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us."
Pretty amazing, huh?
And while it's true that each and every one of us can be made new, washed clean. What you have to decide is where will you go from there? Will you embrace your new identity and follow Christ? Or will you take that new start for granted and return to your old life and continue in your sin? Just like the decision to follow Christ is up to you, the decision to turn away is in your hands as well.