The dashboard in a car is located right in front of the driver and it has all these dials, symbols, and screens that tell the driver what is going on in the car as they drive. You usually see in large numbers or through a meter with a needle pointing to how fast the car is going but occasionally there will be other lights that will appear that conform to different types of symbols. These symbols usually indicate problems that are showing up in the car through the various sensors that are built within the vehicle such as low tire pressure, check engine, low gas and etc.
Now the temptation for anyone on a budget is that they will typically ignore that light and if they ignore it long enough that it will go away as it doesn’t seem like this warning is really affecting the performance of the car. Yet the light keeps coming on and after a while of not dealing with the problem, the vehicle begins to breakdown. What was a minor problem that could have been fixed quickly with minimal costs is going to be a lengthy recovery with fees so high that it threatens to drown you with ridiculous amount of numbers.
Life also has it’s signal lights that tell us that things are not going well. For instance, our bodies have a mechanism called “pain” that warns us that something is going wrong within our bodies and that it demands our attention whether it be physical, emotional, or mental. It is the same way spiritually and the spiritual sign giver is the Holy Spirit within the believer and the built in conscious for everyone that tells us the basics of right or wrong.
If we have these guides and built in symptoms against sin that is destructive not only spiritually but in every area of our lives; what happens when we choose to ignore them?
We are outraged when judgment comes
“And if you say in your heart, ‘Why have these things come upon me?’
You know what is strange? It is strange when people who do wrong and they get mad when they are punished for it. But why do they get mad? In general I believe that people get mad when they have to pay for their wrongdoing is because people don’t want to admit that they are wrong and ultimately don't want to take responsibility of their actions.
How does this mentality come about? When the culture sets up a system of abuse of grace where there is no accountability for action. Grace in it’s truest form leads to transformation and accountability and thus there is a standard that is set by God. In the process of failure you are still accepted as a person who is deserving of love and acceptance but doesn’t mean your actions deserve the same treatment. A potential dangerous phrase is when we say it’s ok when in reality it is not because it never deals with the issues. It is better to deal with the issues while it is in your control because if left alone, you will still deal with but it will be out of your control! So before this mindset kicks in, we must build a community that accepts people but not wrong actions and seeks to restore people by acceptance of the person but denial of the sin. Sometimes it is not ok.
Changing our ways will be increasingly if not impossible
“Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil.”
The answer to this question is a no if you were wondering. But then where is our hope if we cannot change? Death. We must die to ourselves by accepting Jesus and becoming a new creation and when you become new can the new ways even be possible (John 3:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17). The Israelites were to cling to God as a realization that their acts of faithfulness and religion cannot change their hearts as much as a leopard wanted to change it’s spots so therefore it will take the creator of the universe to create new hearts. This was done through the cross of Christ where the possibility of being with God is possible because Jesus gives us a new life with a new heart that can know God. Until there is the initial submission and daily reminder of that submission to God can we can begin to consistently change our ways!
The passage ends in a question and I want to end it here today as this is something that some of us need to hear today!
Q:“How long will it be before you are made clean?”
A: As soon as you are willing.