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Filthy Rags

You know that friend who always wants to bring something to the party? The person who always says, “Thanks for inviting us. What can I bring? Can I bring a side dish or dessert?” In every day life, this is polite. When it comes to our salvation in Christ, the idea that we can bring something to the party is offensive.

In Isaiah 65:1, God tells His children, “I showed myself to the people who weren’t looking for me. They didn’t know who I was until I showed up and said, ‘Hello.’” They didn’t earn their way to God; He came to them. Just one chapter earlier, Isaiah says his human efforts are “filthy rags” in God’s eyes. Isaiah is making a profound point.

The Hebrew word for rag is “beged” (pronounced behg-ed’). That word can be translated as many different types of garments including undergarments, outer garments, clothing, etc. The Hebrew word for unclean in this verse is “tame”(pronounced taw-mey’). It is an adjective that describes something foul, polluted or filthy. When you put these two words together and read them in the context of Hebrew culture, Isaiah is saying, “Our righteous acts are like used tampons to God.” It’s gross, but true.

When we try to earn God’s approval or improve our salvation by doing good things, He is insulted not impressed. He sent His perfect Son Jesus to do what we can’t. We can’t add to our salvation, nor can we lose it. God has laundered our “filthy rags” through Jesus’s blood on the cross.

Don’t be the person who keeps trying to bring a side dish to God’s party. Just enjoy the party. When you do good works, do them out of thanksgiving for what Jesus did for you. If you are in Christ, He found you, He saved you and He made you clean.

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