“To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:”
1 Corinthians 1:2 (NIV)
Many people have pets in their lifetime: dogs, parrots, cats, budgerigars, hamsters and so on. Each one has its own delights, each one its own nuisances. We have a much loved tortoise shell cat; cute, fluffy, warm, cuddly but who, unfortunately, also has fleas. As we try to rid ourselves of the fleas we have to clean, spray, comb, douse with liquid flea killer, everything we can think of because, much as I love our cat, I hate the fleas as they seem to believe I am their dinner as much as the cat is. One flea is too much for me as the little darling tries to sit on my lap (and I have noticed it is mine she prefers to anybody else’s)!
God loves each of us (though perfectly) just as much as I love our cat, but we carry our sins with us just as the cat carries fleas. And much as we may want God to cuddle and comfort us God sees the sin we have and doesn’t like it. So He applies the only solution to us—His Son’s sacrifice for us.
Whereas the battle with fleas will continue a little while longer, the battle to clean away sin has already been won. Just as I love the cat but hate the fleas, so God loves the sinner but hates the sin. As Paul reminded the Corinthian Church: “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11).
Knowing how passionate God is about freeing us from sin, we should also share in his desire. When free from fleas, why would anyone, or any cat, choose to get re-infected? Just as the cat should avoid other cats with fleas, so Christians should avoid prolonged contact with other people and/or situations that cause them to become entangled with sin: “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
We do not measure the value of our cats by whatever fleas they may have. Fleas are a temporary nuisance, which have no impact on the love we have for our cats. Likewise, God loves us despite our sins. Through Jesus, he has found an eternal solution to the problem of sin. One day all sin will be gone thanks to the perfect love of God.
By Rosemary Gent, who attends Nottingham Grace Communion
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