He darted like lightning towards the house, retreating from a battle apparently lost—my dog, that is. One night a few weeks ago, as my dog went out to relieve himself, he encountered a skunk that had defended itself and won. The putrid odor that enthralled him was more nauseating than anything I’ve ever smelled before. It would not surprise me to find out that the biblical writers accidentally left out the part about hell reeking of skunk spray.
Needless to say, we broke out the big guns. We used the most potent dog shampoo in our arsenal and gave him a rigorous bath. Most of nature’s tear gas was on his face, so we had to flush his eyes and massage his snout with suds to eliminate the offensive odor. The skunk was still winning, however, for the foul stench remained. “Cover it with something that smells better,” I thought. I thought wrong.
Out of options, we purchased some skunk odor eliminator and applied it as well. The repulsive tang lingered for days, so the bathing and cleaning had to carry on. The dog hated the whole cleansing process, of course. Many times he tried to jump out of the tub to escape. Sometimes it was difficult or unpleasant, but it had to be done. He had to be cleaned up for his own good (and for ours).
As sinners, we carry a stench far worse than the sulfuric fumes of a skunk—namely, the odor of sin. The Lord God smells sin from heaven and it is described in Scripture as an unpleasantly-smelling smoke in His nostrils (Isaiah 65:5). However, on the day of your conversion God gave you a bath. He washed you by the cleansing blood of Christ and the spiritual washing of the Spirit (1 John 1:7; Titus 3:5).
Since you are not in your final state, the scent of sin will stick around. Therefore, God’s process of cleansing will continue until you wear a robe of white in glory. Sometimes it is unpleasant or hard to bear when God scrubs you of sin’s smell, but that’s the only way it can be eliminated—you cannot wash yourself or cover the smell of sin. Sometimes He uses means of cleansing us that are undesirable: discipline, trials, rebuke, correction, and so on.
But don’t jump out of the tub, friend. God always cleanses you for your good. Let God cleanse you each day and even ask Him to do so (Psalm 51:2). Yield to His continual cleansing so that you may spread a pleasing fragrance to those around you, “the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere” (2 Cor. 2:14). And rest assured that, no matter how many times you get sprayed by sin’s stench, the Lord will wash you every time you come to Him.
Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it will be posted for reading here.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (Aussiedor), and Dot (beagle).