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It is amazing how the Lord simplifies concepts for our understanding. My son crawled into my lap to snuggle with me the other day. Of course, I was not opposed to this. I welcomed him into my arms as one would expect of a loving mother. But as he made his way up my legs, he offended me—his odor offended me.

He needed a diaper change, so instead of snuggling with him, I cleaned him. I carried him into the room, wiped him clean, changed his diaper, and then cuddled with my son without his odor offending me. If I am capable of being offended, isn’t God?

Much like my son, many of us desire close proximity to our guardian, the Lord. And much like a loving mother, God does not oppose our desire for closeness. The desire for intimacy is mutual for both God and man. However, despite God’s longing for our closeness, if we are in sin, our odor offends him. This is what the Lord said about his people who were living contrary to his will:


These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.

Isaiah 65:5 KJV


Haven’t we all had the unpleasant experience of smelling someone whose odor is so rudely strong that it burns our nose? Aren’t we all inclined to take a step back from the smell? Surely, we do not desire to be close to an odor that offends us. Even if it were someone you love dearly—your parents, children, lover, or friends—if their odor offends you, you desire that they are first cleansed from what offends you before interacting with them.

Similarly, God desires our cleansing before intimate interaction with us. I am convinced that the stench of sin burns God's nostrils more than any horrible scent we may have encountered. When we consider God's deity and holiness, we can gain a better understanding of how sin offends him. Nothing explained the purity of God to me more than reading the Old Testament—particularly the Levitical Laws.

God placed a huge emphasis on holiness in the Old Testament. God’s people were to remain pure and holy in his camp. They were not only to resist sin, but even certain physical conditions could deem someone impure. Menstrual cycles, leprosy, and eating unclean animals were among a few things that would deem someone unclean.

And when someone was deemed unclean, they were commanded to remove themselves from both God and God’s people. Why? Because God is holy and will not tolerate unholiness around him. Because there should be a distinction between what is holy and unholy.

One should be able to distinguish between what is clean and unclean just as we can clearly distinguish between when something smells good or when something smells bad…. No one confuses the smell of perfume with the smell of manure. Therefore, no one should confuse God’s holy people with those who have yet to become holy.

So, if we are in sin, our odor causes God to separate himself from us despite his love for us. But thank God that there is a solution to the stench of sin. This solution does not merely mask the scent. It cleanses.

We know that if we opt to cover horrid scents without cleansing, the scent will still waft and offend. Applying cologne to an unwashed body does nothing—it does nothing for the offender or the offended. A washing must occur first. And the washing away of our stench, the cleansing of our sins, is completed through accepting Jesus Christ.

When we become repentant baptized believers, we become cleansed from all that offends God. This washing does everything for us—it is good for us, the offender, and it is good for God, the one we have offended by our foul-smelling sins. Upon our cleansing, we can enjoy close proximity with our loving Father, and our Father can enjoy closeness to us, just as my son and I both enjoyed each other’s cuddles when he was cleansed from what offended me.

But be mindful that my son did not clean himself. I cleaned my son. He would have done a horrible job if he had attempted to cleanse himself. Likewise, it is not for you or me to cleanse ourselves. Only Jesus has the power and authority to forgive and wash away our sins.

After our cleansing, we are indeed called to walk in holiness, to be set apart, and to smell differently from the world. Through his divine power and mercy, God has given us everything we need to live godly lives that please him (2 Peter 1:3). But that initial cleansing of sins, that initial washing away of offenses, is done by God through his son, Jesus Christ.

And so, let us not offend God. Let us be washed, cleansed, and made new. May we no longer emit scents that burn our good Father’s nose. Rather, may we secrete a sweet-smelling aroma into the Lord by living a life that is pleasing in God’s eyes.

I pray this message has blessed you.

Until next time, God bless you. Take care.


Quin Arrington is a Christian wife, mother, and author with books available on Amazon.

Thank you for your time. May God bless and keep you.

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