“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” Isaiah 64:6
Ever been around race cars? Or for that matter have you been around any vehicle that has developed an engine problem and burned the oil in the system? It is a nauseating smell.
I was once tasked with having to clean out three buckets that had been filled with burnt motor oil from an engine used in a race but not properly equipped for such a use. To clean these buckets filled with liquid stench I was given a water hose and a bunch of rags (the EPA wasn’t on the prowl way back then).
Two miserable hours later the buckets were clean but the horrid stink hung in my nostrils for two days. The rags were beyond reclamation and I thought about burning my own clothes because they held the smell as well.
From that day, more than 22 years ago until now, whenever I read Isaiah 64:6 I think about those rags – and that smell. Our best attempts at righteousness are as burnt-oil rags to a holy God. No matter how “good” we think we are, we still stink like filthy, burnt oil rags.
We will never be good enough in ourselves, so we must put on the righteousness of God talked about in Philippians 3:9.
— CHRIS BOGGS
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