“‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, [they shall be as white] as wool.’”
Isaiah 1:18 (NIV UK)
Beaches are some of the most beautiful places in God’s creation. But there’s one in northern California that didn’t start that way. It’s called Glass Beach, and it got its name because the local town didn’t have a rubbish removal service. So they threw their trash over the cliffs. Empty bottles, shattered windows, even cars ended up there. Eventually, the city was forced to shut down the beach.
That’s when something really interesting happened. As the years passed, the waves ground all that broken glass into smooth pebbles. Finally, the rubbish-filled beach was transformed into a beautiful kaleidoscope of colour.
This whole process reminded me of our sanctification—the way in which we as Christ-followers are moulded and shaped through the power of the Holy Spirit to become more and more like our Saviour. The book of Titus puts it this way: “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5-7, ESV).
We know that the grace of Jesus has already justified us in the eyes of God. But as fallen human beings, it’s impossible for us fully to live out the perfect character of Christ each day. This is where the Holy Spirit comes in. It’s only through his activity in our hearts and minds that we can truly be changed, sharing more and more in our full humanity regenerated and raised up in Christ and given to us by his Spirit.
Like the waves crashing year after year on Glass Beach, the Holy Spirit works to remove our rough edges, using events and circumstances in our life for the refinement of our character, gently and persistently re-shaping us into the image of Christ. So that just like Glass Beach, what might start out looking like rubbish can be refined into a truly beautiful kaleidoscope reflecting the very light and life of Jesus Christ.
Merciful Father, when we look at ourselves we see nothing to be desired from your perspective. But you call in your mercy and you clean us up. Finally, you clothe us with Christ’s righteousness so that we can stand clean before you. Thank you, in the name of Jesus we pray.
Study by Joseph Tkach
About the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA. You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.