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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: December 9, 2022

1 John 3

When zookeepers take in an orphaned bear cub, before they introduce the lost little guy to his adoptive mother, they slather mama bear’s nose in VapoRub. The reason for this is simple. The VapoRub neutralizes the she-bear’s sense of smell, so by the time it wears off, she's already bonded with the cub and sees it as her own. If you don’t do the VapoRub trick, then mama bear will immediately know the cub isn’t hers. And she’ll kill it.

What a perfect metaphor for the fallen nature of mankind. Why does the world persecute Christians who just want to worship our God in peace and forgive our neighbors in abundance? It’s because, through our confession and our good works, the world can smell that we are not its children. We don’t belong to Satan and sin and corruption. We belong to the God this world hates.

Likewise, when we share in the idolatry and lust and pride and slander and cruelty of this world, when we enslave ourselves to temptation, what are we doing? We’re slathering VapoRub on the nose of the bear, hoping that this world will embrace us and not see us as the children of its enemy.

Thanks be to God that our Father has slathered us in something far greater, something that does not wash off. Thanks be to God that our Father has covered us in the blood of His Son. Thanks be to God that our Father in heaven didn’t want to devour those who were not His children, but that He wanted to make us His children through the blood of His Son who was devoured in our place. And thanks be to God that He has done this for you.

That’s who your Father is. That’s who you belong to. So don’t try to make peace with a world that will only recognize you as its child if you renounce your Father and His righteousness. Don’t slather your hands in the VapoRub of sin in order to win the motherly affection of a world that will always hate the children of God. No, fold your hands in prayer and trust in the righteousness of Jesus Christ that your Father slathered upon you in the waters of your baptism, a righteousness that will never fade or wash away.

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