A Lesson on Rotten Teeth
You get as comfortable as you can in the fake leather recliner. The hygienist taps the lever beneath the chair with her toe and you feel like you’re stretching out on the medieval rack. The bright light swivels directly above your face and she leans in from above, mask, goggles, pokes, prods, and mirrors ready to make you a human pin cushion. You wonder how she does not drop something down your throat! She begins her investigation, all the while asking you questions about your work and family with her fingers and instruments in your mouth. You rinse and spit. She steps back, snaps the latex gloves off, and announces you have some rotten teeth. The interrogation begins regarding your hygienic practices and the importance of flossing every day, but you hold up your hand to stop her. You tell her, “I know I have rotten teeth, but it’s not my fault. My parents had an addiction to Oreo cookies when I was young. It’s not my fault, so I’m not changing anything.”
What an absurd excuse? This is similar to the excuse the Israelites made during the days of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. “What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge” (Ezekiel 18:2)? God tells them through his messengers, “Ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb” (Ezekiel 18:3). What God taught them was a little more serious than flossing every day. He said, “Behold, all souls are mine…the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4). Throughout the next few chapters, God discusses with Ezekiel how his justice system works. If one person does right, then he will not experience God’s wrath; he will live. If another person does wrong, then he will experience God’s wrath. The soul that sinneth, it shall die!
It is true we are all born with a sin nature. The sin nature is passed from Adam down through the generations of people who have lived on God’s green earth. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). However, we are culpable because of our own behavior. We sin because we are sinners and we are doomed to face the wrath of God because of our sinfulness. The stakes are high. He that “hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God” (Ezekiel 18:9). God’s justice is severe. Paul said, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Galatians 3:10). If you divert from God’s prescribed righteousness, then you are guilty!
I am thankful, there was One who lived upon this earth and changed everything. He did not follow the pattern of Adam and his children. He lived purely. He fulfilled the Law completely.
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (Romans 5:6-9)
Those who ask Christ to save them from their sins have a new Father. They are given the Holy Spirit who is the love of God shed abroad in our hearts. If we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. We will know the rich blessings of God, only because of the grace He has extended to us through Jesus Christ.
Jesus made the way. He is the only way.