My family was privileged to host Dr. Michael Privett and his wife Sheri this past weekend from Gospel Fellowship Association. Dr. Privett planted Faith Baptist Church of Williamsburg, VA and pastored there for 21 years. He now is the director of church planting at GFA, and travels around encouraging church planters.
I must confess that I put Dr. Privett to work while he was here. The December cold is upon us and we heat by wood. Once a week, I load up my living room with firewood, and Dr. Privett was more than happy to assist me with this task, which I appreciated very much.
As we finished bringing a load of wood in and attempted to retrieve another, I stepped onto our deck only to be hit in the face with a stench that could knock over a mule. Our friendly, neighborhood skunk had decided to invade the woodpile we had been using just minutes before. The smell was so strong that there was no doubt he was still within a few feet of the deck. I quickly announced that we were done hauling firewood for the evening. We proceeded to be thankful that Mr. Skunk had waited to announce his presence while we were indoors. If he hadn’t, we would have been quite the essence of nasal affections in church the next morning.
While skunks are beautiful animals, they just plain stink. The consequences of messing with a wild skunk are quite severe. One does not have to get near him to know the affect of his stench. With one foot on my deck, I knew firewood hauling was done for the evening, so I went inside and refused to be affected by Mr. Skunk.
I wonder how many Christians think of sin in the same way. When presented with the opportunity to do something that is a stench in the nostrils of God, how many of us choose to stink? Just like a skunk, the initial severity of the stench of sin can be quite offensive, but once we become accustomed to the stench, it isn’t so bad. Yet, the truth is sin always stinks. The stench of sin in not relative.
For some reason, we convince ourselves that we can cover the stench of sin! We scramble to add the colognes and perfumes of self-righteousness, the right dress standards, music, church attendance, and even speech. If someone sits near us in church that was just sprayed by a skunk, we will smell it no matter how much cover scent is used. Sin also stinks, and it cannot be covered by self-righteous acts (Isaiah 64:6).
Finally, there are not many solutions to getting rid of essence of skunk. A home remedy with an acid base like white vinegar or tomato juice may do the trick, but people often need to turn to commercial products. There is only one solvent for the stench of sin, and that is God’s forgiveness through the shed blood of Christ. The first treatment is accepting Christ as Savior through his death in your place on the cross. He defeated death by rising from the dead three days later according the Scriptures. If you are saved, 1 John 1:9 is for you. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Do you stink? Do you think you have everyone fooled because you sprayed yourself with your own righteous cologne today? The truth is that sin stinks just like a skunk stinks. You cannot cover it and expect no one else to notice, especially God! Take a bath in God’s righteousness through confessing and forsaking your sin. Be acceptable in God’s sight today.