All Sins Washed Away


Marilynne Robinson’s novel Lila follows the story of a young woman—a drifter from birth, without home or family—who finds hope in the church and even marries an older widowed pastor. Lila, the main character, finds salvation in Christ and undergoes baptism but struggles with feeling unclean on account of her past. In a moving moment, Lila reveals her burdens to her future husband, Ames. Lila says, “‘But don’t you wonder why I don’t even know my own name?’ ‘You’ll tell me sometime, if you feel like it,’” Ames responds. She reveals that she worked in a house of prostitution in her past. “She stepped away from him, and he gathered her back and pressed her head against his shoulder. He said, ‘Lila Dahl, I just washed you in the waters of regeneration. As far as I’m concerned, you’re a newborn babe’” (Marilynne Robinson, Lila [New York: Picador, 2015], 89–90). Christ’s healing through the cross, in which salvation is extended to us, washes away all our sin and uncleanliness.