By Leonard Lauriault
While driving on the interstate, one can often see signs for truck washes. As we were driving through the middle of nowhere in Arizona on I-40, there was a sign saying, “Rattlesnake Wash.” When I saw that, my first thought was, “They wash their rattlesnakes in Arizona?”
Then I connected that with the serpent of old – Satan – who got kicked out of heaven and is now all washed up because he tried to usurp God’s place (Revelation 12:7-9; Isaiah 14:12-17). Now, God has prepared another place for him and his followers (Matthew 25:41; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:19-24).
Satan’s deceased followers, including the rich man, are experiencing torment in that place while they’re being held there until the final judgment, but Satan is still on the loose and continues getting washed up because Christians also have the power to put him in his place (2 Peter 2:4-10; James 4:7; Luke 10:17-20). There’re two things we must keep in mind when we actually experience this control over Satan and the fact that he’s all washed up.
First, we shouldn’t rejoice in anyone’s demise, even we think they’re getting their just desserts. As Christians we must realize that it’s only by God’s grace that we’re not getting what we deserve (Psalm 103:8-14). God will always dispense justice with mercy until Jesus returns at which time there’ll be justice without mercy for those who don’t know him as well as for those who know him but didn’t obey him (2 Thessalonians 1:5-12; Matthew 7:21-27). The unmerciful are among the disobedient (James 2:12-13). When we exercise judgment without mercy in this life, we’re usurping God’s privilege at the final judgment (Romans 12:19-21). This doesn’t mean we’re not to make judgments, but the purpose and process are defined to include mercy (Matthew 7:1-5; 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 2 Corinthians 2:5-11).
Secondly, our rejoicing is to be in the Lord with those who rejoice and we’re to mourn with those who mourn (Philippians 4:4-5; Romans 12:14-16). Jesus told his disciples to not rejoice because they had power over Satan. They were to rejoice because their names were written in heaven. It’s the ends that we’re to rejoice about and not the appropriate means to the ends (Romans 3:8; 6:1-5). Certainly, we should rejoice in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection unremorsefully because he joyfully endured it to bring about our salvation – the writing of our names in heaven (2 Corinthians 7:10; Hebrews 12:2).
Having our name written in heaven is the goal of which Christians are assured as long as we continue to overcome evil in our life (Revelation 3:4-7; 1 John 1:5-9; Colossians 2:9-15, 20; 3:1-11; Romans 8:12-17). Several Bible passages cited in this article mention baptism, which is the washing of rebirth and renewal during which our past sins are washed away and we come into the relationship with God that’ll keep us from being all washed up at the final judgment (Ephesians 5:25-27; Titus 3:3-7; Acts 2:38-39; 22:16).
Have you allowed God to wash away your sin?
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org