In 2015 a city decided it was time to clean up something that was attracting unwanted visitors. So a maintenance crew began the tedious work of removing more than one million pieces of gum—weighing more than a ton—stuck to the iconic “Gum Wall.” What began twenty years before, when patrons began sticking gum on the wall while waiting in line for the local theater, had turned into a popular tourist attraction. Unfortunately, the wall was also popular with the local rat population!

More than 2,000 years ago, God also took action against another disgusting reality—the ugly sum of all our sins. Before people believe in Jesus, they’re controlled by sinful thoughts and behavior: “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things” (Romans 8:5). But through faith in Jesus people are made clean and can be given a fresh start.

As we read Hebrews 9:12-14, we see how it moves from the lesser to the greater. If the blood of animals can provide external cleaning, how much more effective is the cleansing of Christ’s blood (Hebrews 9:12). Unlike the blood of animals, Jesus’ blood is capable of cleansing the sin in our hearts. He removes the “dead” works of our conscience so we can serve and “worship the living God” (Hebrews 9:14).

Animal sacrifice and good works can’t remove sin from our lives, only the blood of Jesus can (Hebrews 9:23). His cleansing of our sins should lead us to a life of perseverance and gratitude. Today, by His strength, may we hold to our faith and give thanks to God the Father, who loved us and sent Jesus to die for us. Let’s also thank Him for the Holy Spirit who convicts us of disobedience and energizes us to serve the living God (Romans 8:6).

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Daniel 2:25-49