Some time ago I did my quarterly … semi-annual … okay, annual (if I’m lucky) full-house carpet cleaning. I’m talking pulling out beds, moving dressers, and rearranging furniture. Oh, sure, I use it here and there to spot clean, but this was different. I focused on a different room each day, and by the end of the week, the carpets were squeaky clean, and I was feeling pretty happy about my progress, so I decided to use the upholstery tool to clean the couch and armchair as well. Looking at our couch beforehand, it didn’t look especially disgusting. It’s beige, so it showed a few discolorations, sure, where the kids spilled something or other. But I had the false impression that it was fairly clean overall. Boy, was I wrong.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Housecleaning, at least for me, is always a humbling experience. Always. The picture for today’s blog is a picture of the dirty water I emptied from the carpet cleaner from our couch. Okay, I get that carpets are dirty. We walk on them, after all. But couches? Really? How in the world did my couch get that amount of dirt in it? And we were sitting on that thing, even resting  our heads against it? Ewwww.

Sadly, I have a feeling that if I were to clean the couch again this soon after, I’d get more dirt. And I’m convinced that even if I steam mopped every day, the pads would still be dirty afterward. No matter how hard I try or how clean things may appear on the surface, there will always be dirt deep down.

Sitting in church this weekend, it struck me that I’m no different. Every single week I have sins to confess, and they’re usually the same ones. No matter how many times I confess and ask God for strength to do better, the “dirt” of my sins is still with me. Even if I may look pious and “clean” on the outside to others, deep down there’s dirt. Ugly thoughts, evil desires, selfishness, greed, envy… The list goes on and on. I can never be truly clean.

And yet I am.

In and of myself, I’ll never stop sinning, no matter how hard I try. I will always need to confess my sins to my Savior. But the beautiful thing is that He has already forgiven me and cleansed me. He has washed me in His blood, and in Him, I am clean. I am pure. My Baptism was the most thorough washing I’ll ever need. 1 Corinthians 6:11 reminds us: “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

That’s a pretty amazing washing. Simple water, combined with God’s Word, washed, sanctified, and justified me all at once. Forever.

I’ll take that kind of deep cleaning any day.