Did you have to read Macbeth in High School? Perhaps one of the most famous scenes and lines is Lady Macbeth’s guilt after using murder and rising to position of Queen of Scotland is when she is sleepwalking and trying to wash the blood off of her hands:
Out, damned spot! Out, I say!—One, two. Why, then, ’tis time to do ’t. Hell is murky!—Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?—Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him.
– Lady Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 1
But have you ever considered the doctor’s response after watching her in her insanity?
Foul whisp’rings are abroad. Unnatural deeds do breed unnatural troubles. Infected minds to their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets. More needs she the divine than the physician. God, God forgive us all!
– The Doctor, Macbeth, Act 5 Scene 1
He knows that there is nothing he can do for her in the physical realm, that her conscience has been so burdened by her actions that he is helpless to make her better. Only God can help her.
Conscience is a gift of God, to help us understand when we have sinned and gone against the created order. God has written His Law on our hearts so that there is an inward conviction of things right and wrong and so that we can understand our need for a savior (Rom 2.14-16). But when we try to appease our conscience on our own without the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit, we are left looking good on the outside but still stained within.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
– Matt 23.27-28
This is a woeful situation, to be outwardly clean but to be inwardly dead. Our conscience and all of creation bear witness to God and to His Law. Even before we have Spiritual life, we have the Law of God written on our hearts and we know that when we lie, steal or murder we have broken His Law and are guilty before Him. We may look good on the outside, but we are dead on the inside. We are full of dead men’s bones. We have spots of blood on our hands that will not come out.
Jesus can and will make us alive inside, he will breathe life into those dead bones, and He will wash away all uncleanness and spots of blood. He can do this because He paid the penalty for our sins. The penalty for sin is death and damnation, and He paid that for us. He can, by nature of having vindicated the guilty by paying the penalty due, allow us to reap the benefits of His righteousness by being counted justified before God. God does not put on rose-colored glasses and see us has having never sinned, He sees our sins as paid off. The debt has been paid.
If you have blood on your hands that only you can see, Jesus can make you as white and pure as snow. He can wash away the blood. Only the divine can help you, no doctor or scrubbing can perform the cleansing required.