Pinterest expands my world in so many ways. Did you know you can make fine linen paper from old rags? That headline sent me off to Google to do some research. It seemed a bit far-fetched, but sure enough, I found a recipe! In the search, my heart rejoiced at another spiritual truth revealed in the natural world. God loves to do that, and I love to find and share those revelations!
God continually creates fine linen from filthy rags. Isaiah 64:6 reminds us that our very best good works serve to clothe us in filthy rags. Yet, in Revelation 19:8, we see the Church (that is all of us who believe in Jesus Christ) wearing fine white linen for our wedding day! That is an incredible makeover. The recipe for earthly-world linen requires that great bleaching agent, baking soda. The spiritual world cleansing is nothing but the blood of Jesus Christ.
Until the Church grasps the truth of our filthy rags, we can never worship in unity. All who encounter Jesus Christ long to live well for Him. Some strive for perfection; others give up in defeat. Some worship with exuberance, others with reverence. Often it is passion for what is “right” and “best” that drives wedges between Christians. We deliver messages of unity in our preferred tongue, and become nothing more than clanging gongs. Only the love and grace in Christ transforms our efforts to pure
beauty–we must understand the works are nothing! It is impossible for fallen humanity to know and do perfectly all that God desires. That is the point of the Isaiah passage and the reason for Christ’s suffering and death on our behalf. Unity comes when we understand our inability–and Christ’s sufficiency!
Solomon can help us. Do you remember his dream of asking for wisdom and discernment to guide the people of God? God met him in that dream and promised this:
“Because this was in thine heart … wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honor … ” (2 Chronicles 1:11-12).
God looks at the heart, not perfect performance. In fact, the verses preceding this tell us that Solomon worshipped at the high places. He made a covenant with Pharaoh. Most know his love of women eventually interfered with his walk with God. Solomon was like every other Bible character; he is like you and I: imperfect. You may enjoy checking out this wonderful poster created by folks who truly understand the rags to linen ability of God.
God’s ability to completely transform people is the rallying call for unity. Denominational distinctions grow out of sincere beliefs. Individuals who enjoy God in a particular manner begin to feel that is the only way to enter His presence. We tend to forget not only that our way is not the only way, it might even be the wrong way. We must live in faith that God sees our heart’s desire; He will guide and correct us—and others—as needed. When we open our own hearts to the grace that transforms, we begin to open the way for unity in the Body of Christ.
Do you trust God to lead you, or do you trust yourself to follow Him? What are the “rags” in your life that God is transforming into fine linen?