My family loves bonfires, and we have really enjoyed them in recent days. Few things are more satisfying than sitting around a fire with people you love. I even love the smell of a good fire.
Interestingly, though, one thing I do not like is the smell of my clothes after I leave the fire. While the smell does not affect me during the fire, apart from a face full of smoke when the wind changes directions, the smell is less than pleasing afterward. In fact, the clothes you wore must be washed, or they will continue to stink.
Likewise, if you do not shower and wash your hair, you will continue to stink. Simply changing clothes only does so much. The smoke gets into your hair and skin, and while a clean set of clothes and some cologne will mask the smell for a while, that smoke smell eventually reappears.
In preparing for my Sunday morning message – “Living Difference” (Romans 13), I noticed a spiritual correlation with this idea of fire and smoke.
OFF AND ON
In the same way that simply ridding yourself of a smoke-absorbed coat will not permanently change your smell, simply ridding yourself of sinful habits will not permanently change your life. You must both put off and put on. “Discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12). If you continue reading the passage, you will see what is to be discarded in verse 13 and what is to be put on in verse 14.
Put off sin and put on Christ. Flee from sin and follow Jesus. Run from evil and cling to what is good.
If I am somehow able to rid myself of a sinful habit but do not surrender myself to Jesus, then I will simply return to said-habit or replace it with another sinful habit. And, even if I do not return or replace it with another sinful habit, the smell of smoke is still there. The stain of sin is not yet washed away. The evidence of fire still exists.
ONLY ONE ANSWER
The only One who can rescue us from sin and deliver us from the eternal fire of death in hell is Jesus Christ our Lord. He died on the cross in our place for our sins, taking all the smoke of sin upon Himself. The wrath of God that we all deserve was poured out on Jesus. On the third day, though, Jesus rose from the dead to win the victory over sin and death. Now, everyone who turns away from sin and trusts in Jesus for forgiveness and new life receives both. The smoke is washed away, and the stain of sin is gone. Even though we are still sinners, it is as if we were perfect because we are counted righteous in Jesus Christ.
This only happens, though, when we are cleansed from our sins by trusting in Jesus. Then, He takes off the old and covers us with the new.
If I try to cover the smell of smoke on my own, I cannot save myself from the fire. But, if I ask Jesus to take away the smoke and make me clean, He does so in a way that is eternal.
Have you put off the old and put on the new? As we will discuss Sunday morning, Lord willing, the evidence will be not only in how you relate to God but also in how you relate to others, including the church and the government. Again, see Romans 13.
If you have not yet made the decision to surrender your life to Jesus, will you do so today? You can learn more HERE. Let us flee from immorality and follow Jesus with all our hearts!