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***Originally posted January 27, 2011

Just about two years ago I did something that I was not OK’d by my family. I got a dog. Not just any dog, a German Shepherd. The type of dog that is willful, dominate, intense and extremely intelligent. Now before you go asking to many questions he was a great deal, free. Yes a guy I know, knew a guy who knew a guy who had a huge litter of puppies and needed to get rid of the last few dogs. I jumped at the chance.

My kids loved the idea, my wife has grown to love the idea. Ringo, not named for the Beatles drummer, has a sort of bandit look about him so I named him for a character from one of my favorite movies, Tombstone. Ringo has been a great dog, he is super smart, incredibly loyal and very gentle. He is territorial and barks at people, but we live in a semi rural setting, so not one seems to mind. Most of the neighbours have actually commented on how well-behaved he is.

Ringo did have one small, incredibly disgusting habit when we got him. He seemed to really enjoy the taste of his feces, so much that he just seemed to have to have a taste of every bathroom break. It was horrible. We had to get some medicine that the vet said and I quote, “will make his stool taste bad.” Here is a crazy thought, it should already taste bad!

Any way we got the medicine and after a period of time, it seemed to have done the trick. Today I am reminded of that time of stress for our family because of Ringo’s indiscriminate taste. I am a pastor and as such some days I am struck by the reality that Christian’s often times have indiscriminate tastes when it comes to sin.

Proverbs 26:11 says; “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.” I know, I know, Ringo was not eating his vomit, but he does, every time! I had several conversations with people today whose hearts are broken and hurting. They are torn up as they watch ones that they love willingly walk deeper into sin.

Sin is a hideous reality for each of us, Romans 3:23 tells us that; “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. What this means is God is never OK with our sin, ever. And yet Christians seem to play with sin like it is an article of clothing, or a piece of jewellery. You can wear it for a while and then you can just take it off and be done with it.

It does not work that way. Here’s a thought, sin should “taste” bad to us as Christians. Why, because sin leads to death as Romans 6:23 tells us. The beautiful freeing fact is that Jesus Christ became our sin for us; Martin Luther called this the “Great Exchange”. The gift of grace from Jesus Christ to us in Romans 3:24 is that we are justified by his grace. And because of that gracious gift of justification we have redemption in Jesus Christ!

Romans 3:25 goes on to tell us that God put Jesus forth as propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.  And because of this God in his righteousness passes over our former sins. Why, because Jesus has paid the penalty for us! What a gift of grace! But this begs the question. If you are forgiven by the grace of God, through Jesus Christ; why would you choose to continue in a life of sin? Why? Why be like the dog, or the fool of Proverbs 26:11?

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