What if Sin Smelled? Anger smelled like burnt rubber, resentment like rotten eggs, gluttony like a two-week old carcass, pride like vinegar, or greed reeked like road-kill? Would you want to be close to anyone? No!
Suppose every time we sinned in thought, deed or word we had a sudden body chill, or we had an immediate pounding pulse that resulted in a migraine headache?
Suppose caustic, cutting, sarcastic words were accompanied with fire as they came out of our mouths? Add sulfur smell for extra ugly.
Suppose our voices suddenly had a Darth Vader quality?
Suppose our thoughts were instantly transcribed as text and appeared on every computer screen within a square mile of us? Those revenge fantasies on some neighbor’s computer – horrors! And our power fantasies – we would look stupid. Our sensual fantasies would make us ashamed. What if our thoughts appeared in a public place as a moving line of text like in Times Square, New York City?
Suppose Good Glowed How about if good attitudes made you glow a little? Increased you 1.5% toward a radiant, dazzling tan? Lost a 1/10 of a pound? Pretty cool, huh? Auto makers these days are putting small lights around big headlights. Very stylish. Suppose tiny lights illuminated your skin near our eyes, giving you a fabulous look?
How about if a lovely, soft, melodic telephone ring came on for a few seconds – something as beautiful as the wait music when you call Air France? Would a soothing and relaxing massage motion on some stressed part of your body motive good works and kind words?
How about if kind, thoughtful words were suddenly given a Charles Swindoll voice? Or if your voice sounded the equivalent of Sandi Patty singing How Majestic is Your Name from Psalm 8? We would know we were on the right track. Yes, that could work!
How about a breath aroma that was pleasant and enjoyable? Would you choose spearmint fresh, or flashing peppermint? Pretty neat if God let us customize out breath to our favorite fragrance when we were nice.
Would being pleasantly carbonated signal to ourselves that we were pleasing God? How about if we floated, sparkled, tingled or felt effervescent?
Attitude Alarm It would be helpful if an alarm of some kind went off when our attitudes were being shown or voiced. Could a buzzer of some kind go off to alert us to attitude shifts? Would that increase awareness of our behavior and thought life? Motivate us toward righteous?
No Sensor But, alas, life is not like that. Our breath remains the same – sinning or sainthood. We do not shed pounds when we are righteous, nor glow. No sensor inside us sounds a righteousness alert, nor a sin alarm. Because we do not look different and our voice remains the same, we are unaware. Our antenna is not up, our radar not function. We continue to be unaware of our need before the Holy God of the universe.
We Look Pretty Good Suppose Russell has a problem with his temper, but his co-worker, Melvin, has a problem with drinking. In comparison, Russell’s temper does not seem too bad compared to Melvin’s destructive drinking. But Melvin has a cousin, Gordon, who is addicted to crack. So, Melvin thinks his drinking isn’t too bad.
Gordon, the crack addict, is disgusted to find out that his source is selling to kids. But that dealer can’t fathom another guy who murdered his wife. The wife-killer thinks he has been a good dad because he did not abuse his kids like other people, and besides, he only killed one person, not six million like Hitler.
Hitler’s six million is light compared to Pol Pot’s 30 million. And Pol Pot’s 30 million is at least 20 million less than those Stalin starved to death in Ukraine during World War II.
We can find people who – from our vantage point – make us look pretty good by comparison. So it is easy to conclude, “I got issues, but I ain’t got issues like the those other guys got issues.”
The Right Starting Point Comparing ourselves with others is the wrong starting point since we can always find someone who is outwardly worse than we are. Starting with human comparison is twisted logic that originates from our sin nature (see The Doggie Illustration below). The issue is not other peoples’ sin compared to ours. Looking to ourselves or other people to determine an acceptable standard brings us to the conclusion of Russell in the paragraph (We Look Pretty Good) above.
Instead, we must begin with God. God is the standard. And because He is the standard, it does not change. The Living God is Truth, and only truth will stand the fiery examination of God’s judgment day.
The Doggie Illustration Does a four-footed creature become a dog because of bark number 5? If it barks five times does it turn into a dog? How about bark number 50, or 100? No it is a dog, so it does things consistent with that nature.
When we sin five times, does that makes us sinners? How about sin number 100? Are we living our lives and doing okay, but then we sin for the 100th time and our status immediately becomes sinner? No. We are sinners so we do things consistent with that nature, from birth to death. We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners. This is individual acts of sin do not determine our basic nature; our basic nature prompts us to do acts consistent with our fallen nature. We live based on our default setting – sin. We are by nature and choice sinners who deserve God’s judgment.
We are born on the devil’s team. We have a nature inside us that is set against God controlling our lives. We are programmed by sin to want control.
Honest people know there is an elephant in the room we do not like talking about. Just beneath the surface of our lives,barely out of sight there is a current (make that a river) of self — self-will and self-righteousness – our own private god complex.
Over the thin veneer of right living, we know our righteousness is tissue-paper thin and the tissue paper is wet. We are needy people.
How can this god-complex problem be solved?
The God-Man, Jesus Christ, lived the life we could not live and died the death we could not die. He atoned for our sins.
How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God.Hebrews 9:14
Fixing the Human Race When a car doesn’t work, we fix it, replacing parts as needed. If new parts don’t make it healthy, we get rid of it and get another car. But when we needed fixing — when our sin had to be addressed — did God just get rid of us . . . throw us away?
No. God Himself became a person. Took on a human body. Jesus Christ is God in a human body. And went to a cross to suffer the Hell that writer and reader deserve. God poured out upon Jesus Christ all the toxic bile and acid of human selfishness of all people and of all nations that generates the human misery we see everyday.
God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.II Corinthians 5:21
What does “to be sin for us” mean? It means Jesus Christ was the One who got angry when I was angry. It means Jesus Christ is the One who was selfish instead of me. It means He did all the sin I’ve done. He took it all upon Himself. He willingly became the guilty One, taking the bullet of God’s wrath which we deserve. He gets our sin, we get His righteousness. How could we not love Him?