Have you ever run over a dead skunk in the road? I have, during a heat wave. The smell got into my tires and permeated our garage for days! I’ll go out on a limb and say that no one takes pleasure in the highly offensive smell of skunk spray, dead or alive.
My point in bringing this up is that to God the stench of sin is far worse than skunk. For an example of just how much the Lord hates sin, grab a cup of coffee and read First and Second Kings. But given our penchant for wanting everything now, here’s a snippet from 1 Kings 16 to illustrate how God dealt with one of Israel’s most ruthless kings:
Since I exalted you out of the dust and made you leader over my people Israel, and you have walked in the way of Jeroboam and have made my people Israel to sin, provoking me to anger with their sins, behold, I will utterly sweep away Baasha and his house, and I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat. Anyone belonging to Baasha who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone of his who dies in the field the birds of the heavens shall eat. (1 Kings 16:1-4)
God had already destroyed Jeroboam for his flagrant sins, yet Baasha repeated the same mistakes. God rebuked the Israelites for their sinful ways and vowed to punish them.
Fast forward to 2017. According to a recent Pew Research survey, seven in ten Americans identify as Christians. If this is accurate then how is it that so many professing Christians behave pretty much the same way as the pagans did when Baasha was king?
Scripture teaches that Christians are to have a biblical foundation and that the Christian’s behavior should be Christlike. Yet many who say they’re followers of Jesus wallow in sin!
Admittedly, when someone’s new to the faith it takes a while for the fruit to become ripe. In other words, reaching maturity is a process. Sanctification, as the Bible calls it, doesn’t happen overnight. There comes a time, though, when the vine brings forth fruit. However, when a fruit tree remains barren year after year, one can’t help but wonder if the tree was pollinated.
One of my favorite pastimes is discussing (debating, dissecting) the Bible with brothers and sisters in Christ. So it troubles me when I strike up a conversation with a long time believer who knows very little about the Bible.
Most Christians have heard the verse, “Sanctify [set apart for a holy use] them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17 Through reading and studying God’s Word, believers will learn about Christ, with their goal being to become more like Him. Moreover, they’ll grow in their faith and receive divine guidance on how to live their lives.
To have a close relationship with a person we must get to know them. So the obvious course of action is to ask probing questions. We’ve got to dig below the surface to uncover the intimate details of his/her life. If we’re not interested in a meaningful relationship, we won’t probe!
Because our Father in heaven loves His children, His desire is to be in relationship with each one of us – to pull His beloved into a bear hug! Those who sincerely wish to be in relationship with the Father must dig deep into the scriptures, because that’s the one and only place to learn about God and His ways. “What we believe about God,” said A. W. Tozier, “is the most important thing about us.”