One of my pet peeves about winter in the Midwest is the salty cars. Specifically, my salty car. (Yes, I know it’s currently 70 degrees outside, but I haven’t quite made it to the carwash yet.) At any rate, it isn’t uncommon for me, about halfway through the workday, to look down and realize my black pants have inadvertently brushed against my dirty car.
As someone who grew up with all the glories and messes of the four seasons, it isn’t hard for me to relate to a certain aspect of the regulations about sacrifices described in Leviticus: the idea that once something clean touches something unclean, the once clean object or person is now defiled (Leviticus 5:2-3).
I’ve been around long enough to know that when a mud-splattered puppy bolts through the living room, it’s not the freshly vacuumed carpet that rubs off on the dog; rather, the rug takes on the dirt and grime. When a kid falls onto the grass in his brand-new pants, it’s the pants that get the stain, not the other way around. And it’s not that different with sin, I suppose. If sin so much as sneezes in my direction (whether I’m seeking it out or not), I know I’ll get its tainting effects on me.
So as I read God’s instructions to the priests about the impure making the pure dirty, it made sense to me. That’s just the way our world works. But I stopped in my tracks when I got to this part: “Anyone or anything that touches these offerings will become holy” (Leviticus 6:18). Now this doesn’t jive with my understanding of the world. How could touching something pure cleanse something that was dirty?
That is, I suppose, the counterintuitive nature of grace.
Thankfully, we no longer live under the system of animal sacrifices. But it is much the same for us today. When I come into contact with Jesus, the pure and perfect Sacrifice, he isn’t tainted by my uncleanness, my sin. Instead, I am made clean and whole by touching him. It’s only then that I can stand confidently before a holy God.
My soul’s own carwash. Spot free.
I’ve taken the challenge of reading the Bible chronologically this year and tracing the thread of grace through it. These musings are prompted by my reading. I’d love to have you join me: One Year Bible reading plan.