Saturday, October 3, 2020

Covering Our Sins

Photo by CSIRO 2001

A charming, handsome young couple dined at an exclusive, five-star restaurant to celebrate their engagement. The wait staff was most attentive, anticipating their every need, escorting them to their table chosen for the spectacular view, pulling out the chair for the lady to sit, and offering in hushed tones suggestions on the chef’s recommendations.

The waiters presented the first course with panache, exclaiming, “Voila!” at the synchronized moment they removed the silver domes from the plates. The first bites were delectable, so much so that the bride-to-be wanted her fiancé to sample the unique flavors in the quail leg she was enjoying. But, sadly, as she transferred a forkful to his plate, a small dollop of brown sauce found its way onto the pristine white linen tablecloth.

Before they could even fully realize what had happened, a waiter magically appeared and fluffed out a linen napkin as if making a dove fly out of a top hat. He gently laid the napkin atop the stain, and ceremoniously smoothed it into place, emphasizing the gravity of what she had done while covering all evidence of her transgression.

“Always showing off,” her fiancé chided, rolling his eyes, yet they both had enough grace and humor to laugh off the incident and its momentary awkwardness. In fact, they began joking about what would happen if they spilled something else, or continued to make a mess – would the pile of napkins covering the stains grow so thick that it would be like having a phone book on their table?

Or, Heaven forbid, what if he spilled the lobster bisque on his dress shirt – would they tie a napkin around his neck like a bib? Or worse yet, what if she exited the ladies’ room with the back of her skirt stuck in her pantyhose – would a team of waiters have draped her in tablecloths until she could rectify the situation?

It reminded me that grace, forgiveness, and a sense of humor (Proverbs 15:13; 17:22) are invaluable assets in marriage and in life. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble, and we should all be humbled by His self-sacrificing love and submit to one another in humility (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5).

We cannot cover up our own sins (Psalm 85:2; Proverbs 28:13; Isaiah 30:1; Romans 4:7), for the truth will be made known (Luke 8:17). Adam and Eve could not cover their nakedness with fig leaves (Genesis 3:7), for only God could do that with animal skins (Genesis 3:21), requiring the first animal sacrifice and atonement of sin through shed blood.

Had the young woman tried to hide her error by pridefully blaming the server or her fiancé, or by dabbing at the spot with her own napkin and soiling two linens, the tension of the moment would have escalated and perhaps even ruined a beautiful, memorable celebration. Instead, the mercy of the waiter and of her fiancé spared her any embarrassment.

The young man in the story set his beloved’s heart at ease by laughing with her in joy and celebration, and poking fun at himself in an imaginary scenario rather than being critical of her mistake. Jesus commanded us to forgive (Matthew 18:21-22) and love one another as He has forgiven and loves us (John 13:34-35; 15:12,17; 1 John 3:11,23; 4:7,11,12; 2 John 1:5).

The apostle Paul later repeated these commandments of Christ to love one another (Romans 12:10; 13:8; Galatians 5:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:9). May we always be considerate, compassionate, and loving toward one another, for self-sacrificing love covers a multitude of sins (Proverbs 10:12; Romans 4:7; 1 Peter 4:8).

This story also brings to mind how in the Old Testament, sins could be covered by the ongoing sacrifices of the priests (Leviticus 4), but never removed (Psalm 32:1; 85:2). Not until Jesus came to earth as the perfect Sacrifice (Hebrews 5), the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), could our sins be removed from us as far as the East is from the West (Psalm 103:12).

I wonder if the Old Testament saints shuddered at the thought of the heap of animal remains accumulating as the result of their sins. No matter how diligent they were to carry out the needed sacrifices, on their own behalf, or to cover the sins of their family (Job 1:5) or of their congregation (Numbers 15:25; Hebrews 2:17), it was only a temporary covering. Just like the napkin hiding the gravy stain, a new sacrifice would be required for every additional transgression.

Praise God that when Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay our sin debt in full, He uttered “It is finished!” (John 19:30) because it was! No more sacrifices were needed to cover our sins (Hebrews 10:11-14), for He forever removed born-again believers (John 3:3-8) from the penalty of sin, which is eternal death in hell (Romans 5:21; 6:23).

All those who have trusted in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6) will one day be freed even from the very presence of sin, for He has promised us glorified bodies that will never sin, age, die, or experience pain or sorrow  (1 Corinthians 15:35-54).

Though our sins were red as scarlet, He has washed us clean in His shed blood (Psalm 51:2; Revelation 1:5), making us white as snow (Isaiah 1:18), clothing us in His garment of salvation (Isaiah 61:10). The diners in this story could no longer see any evidence of wrongdoing, for the mistake had been covered.

Praise God, once Jesus Christ robes us in His perfect righteousness, God no longer sees our sins, but only the pristine holiness of His Son!

© 2015 Laurie Collett
Reposted from the archives 

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Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
Yes indeed! That's why I'm a believer in eternal security. If this is not true, then there will be nobody in Heaven now or would ever be, as we all sin, even after conversion.
I thank and praise God for imputed righteousness God gives to everyone who believes. Forensic acquittal.
This means that God the Father sees each one of us in the same way he sees his only Son.
But as for the top-class restaurant, I think I would feel a degree of discomfort in such an environment, mainly due to everything being too perfect and spoiling such purity with a sauce stain. Give me fried cod and chips (fries?) wrapped in a white sheet of paper which I could eat sitting on a park bench. Mmm! Unbeatable!
May God bless both you and Richard.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
Amen and Amen! No one deserves Heaven, but through God's grace and mercy, it is freely available through Christ's imputed righteousness to all who believe.
The vignette in the blog post is based on my son and daughter-in-law's account of the evening that he proposed to her at the penthouse restaurant at One Rockefeller Plaza, New York City. He is quite the foodie and they both enjoyed lavish and trendy restaurants, at least before COVID. On our last family vacation, we enjoyed dining sumptuously in a castle in Ireland, which was quite an experience!

My husband and I used to eat out often, but typically in modest restaurants. We started cooking at home to meet the demands of his optimal health diet and have continued throughout the pandemic, and I do find that we eat better and less expensively and enjoy it more.

Thanks as always for sharing your Scriptural viewpoint and experience. God bless,

Brenda said...

Hi Laurie, yes we have a wonderful Saviour Who became sinful flesh, though He was without sin (the sin is in the flesh), and was crucified so that we might have forgiveness of sin and be born in the Spirit. The more I learn God's ways through His lovely Word the less I will be would even want to sin. I want to become just like Him, and so look forward to Him coming back. God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Brenda,
Yes, as we are a new creation in Christ, the Spirit shapes us more into His image so that sin is repugnant to us. Although we still continue to sin because of our sin nature in the flesh, He is swift and just to forgive us our sins as we ask for forgiveness. Come quickly, Lord Jesus! God bless you too,