For the second half of my child I lived in the country. Life in the country meant, like the Green Acres theme song sings, “farm livin’ is the life for me…” Country living meant a greater appreciation for wild life. We had pheasants in the field, cows in the pasture, horses in the stalls, and skunks in the street.
If you’ve never run over a skunk, you haven’t lived life the fullest! Our neighbor, Mr. Wilson, would say, “I felt a skunk this morning.” Eew.
Mr. Wilson was from Scotland. He had an unusual way of saying things. When he “felt” a skunk, it meant that he had smelled a freshly deceased skunk.
Skunk stink is a penetrated smell. Even if you weren’t the car that hit the skunk, just running over it lingers in your car. Like Mr. Wilson says, you can feel the skunk.
Sin is like the skunk. Its a penetrating stink in our lives. When we hang around sin, even if we don’t personally participate, we can feel its effects. We can see and feel the effects of the stink of sin in our homes, our schools, our neighborhood, our government…and yes, even the church.
We would rather not think about sin. What we often do is gloss it over, or deny that it even exists. Jesus minced no words when it came to the rotten stinking work of sin. In the same passage in John, that contains the most famous verse ever, Jesus says this: “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them,” John3:36
Someone said, “sin will take you further than you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and keep you longer than you wanted to pay.” Sin is stinky and costly. Worst of all, the only presence of God that abides in the life of the unrepentant is the wrath of God.
The word “sin” means to “miss the mark.” The word sin is a archery term. The shooter would take bow & arrow into hand, and the marker would stand downrange. When the archer didn’t hit the bullseye, the marker would shout “sin!” The archer would adjust the shot until he got it right.
Unlike the archer, we always miss the mark, because God’s standard is perfection and holiness. Only God is holy, so where does that leave us? Are we subject to hearing “SIN SIN SIN” without remedy?
There is a remedy.
Mr. Wilson showed us how to get rid of the stink we felt. Tomato juice would wash away the stink.
What an image! The blood of Jesus washes away all of my falling short, all of my stink, all of my imperfection. Jesus becomes the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Jesus cleans me, Jesus keeps me clean. I John teaches us that “if we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive our sin, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” What a promise! God’s wrath will no longer remain upon me, the the feeling stink of a skunk, but when I Acknowledge, Believe, and Confess in the effective work of Christ on the cross; when I turn away from that, and turn to Him… I am then a cleansed child of God.
Running over the skunks of our life is unavoidable. Like Mr. Wilson, when we feel a skunk, let’s run to cleansing.