In a certain city there once lived a man who was a very hard worker. His dearest goal in life was to buy and own a house. To realize his dream, he dedicated himself to work day and night. Eventually, through his hard work, he was able to put away and save some money—enough to buy his dream house, he thought.

With great excitement he started to look for that dream house. But he was greatly disillusioned to find that the beautiful houses that most appealed to him were still beyond his means. And worse, the house he could afford were dilapidated “handyman specials” in need of much repair. He became very sad.

But just about the time he was ready to give up; he happened upon a vacant house on a corner with a sign that read, “For Sale.” He fell in love with the house at first sight. It was a white house, spacious and grand and its price was so low that it seemed they were giving it away. It was a real jewel, a dream house come true. According to the seller, it had only “one little defect.” It seems that the interior walls were all black? Every wall in every room was painted black. That was the reason the house was so affordable. No one, it seems, wanted to buy a house that was white on the outside, but all black on the inside.

But the man, eager to own the house, gave no importance to the little defect. He thought to himself that he could easily fix the problem of the black walls. So he bought the house right then and there.

Unfortunately, he soon found out that he had been mistaken; those black walls were not easy to change. You see, what made them black was not paint; rather, the walls were covered with dark stains and spots so dirty that they indeed looked like black paint. And nothing would get rid of those stains. First he tried soap, but that didn’t work. Then he tried a strong detergent, but that didn’t remove the stains. Then someone suggested he use white paint to cover the walls; surely that would do it.

So the man painted the walls once, then twice, and eventually, ten times. But instead of making them better, the walls looked worse. The dirty walls absorbed the paint and looked gray and blotchy in some places, but just as black as ever in other spots. The walls actually looked dirtier than before!

You can imagine how the man felt. But in his most desperate hour he found the answer to his problem. In a nearby town there lived a person who had invented something truly amazing: a special red paint. The man saw that the price was exorbitant. But he made a decision. He sold all he had (except his house) and purchased the red paint.

When he returned to his house with the black walls, he dipped his paintbrush into the red paint and applied it to the dirty, stained wall. Then the most amazing thing happened—the wall became clean, white and shiny with a stroke of the brush. Every place he applied the red paint the stains disappeared, and the wall were left clean—with just one coat! The man was overjoyed. Finally, the inside of his house was as white and beautiful as the outside. It was truly a place worthy to live in, and he did, happily…forever.

The house in our story represents our life and the black walls symbolize the dark stains of our sins. You and I might look good on the outside, but our spirits were dead (Ephesians 2:1) and our souls were utterly contaminated by our sin (Luke 11:33-36).

And what does the red paint represent? Yes, you guessed it; it is the precious blood of Jesus Christ, our Lord (1 Peter 1:18-20). His blood, shed for us on the cross, is the only cleansing agent that is powerful enough to wash away our sin. If you are in Christ, then you are free, forgiven and freshly cleansed forever.

A. G.

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