A Spiritual Oil Spill

On Tuesday, April 20, 2010, there was an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed eleven workers, devastating eleven families from Day One. I’ve read this is the worst environmental disaster in US history, but just how big is the spill? Imagine if the spill was in Virginia Beach, how far would it reach? Click here to find out, (or to type in your city and state).

Today, this event in the Gulf is on Day 56, completing eight full weeks of disaster for the Gulf coast, but on a serious and spiritual note, I have a few questions to ask…

How is our sin like an oil spill? Let me suggest that as the oil comes from deep inside the earth and gushes out to destroy life and the environment, our personal sin comes from the deepest and darkest regions inside of us and also leads to a similar destruction of life and family.

How do we tend to deal with that sin? The experts at BP and the US government have tried numerous methods to cap the well and stop the flow of oil. One method after another has failed and we wonder if the oil leak will ever be stopped. What are some ways that we try to cap the sin spillage in our lives? We try one thing after another until we discover that there is only one way to cap the sin problem we have, the perfect sacrifice of Jesus on the cross (John 14:6, Romans 5:8). The bottom line is that we try to cap the well on our own, with little success. When a relationship is breached, the only way to mend the relationship is to follow the prescription of the offended one. We cannot come to him on our own terms.

How can we clean up the mess we have created? BP is utilizing thousands of employees and volunteers to help clean up this oil spill. When it comes to getting rid of sin, if we could clean up on our own, we would not really need Jesus or the Holy Spirit to work through us. The goal of the believer is to conform to the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29) and the Spirit is called our Helper (John 15:26). Let’s work in partnership with the Holy Spirit to conform to the image of the Son. That’s what sanctification is all about, becoming more and more like Jesus in thought, word and deed. So, for those who have trusted Christ, the gospel has effectively capped our rampant sin spillage.

How does sin impact the lives of others? Just as this oil spill has affected hundreds of thousands of people and communities, sin also has a lasting effect on others. Think about how your sin has affected those around you; your relationships at work, with your wife, your business dealings, your peace. The dark oil of sin is lurking just off the coast ready to destroy whatever it can cover. We can set out a boom, but the source of the leak needs to be capped.

Why do we often feel so helpless? Romans 1:16 tells us about the power that is available to us, to save everyone from the looming oil spill of sin. Tony Hayward said in the BP public relations commercial that “we will make this right.” The “good news tells us how God makes us right in his sight.” (Romans 1:17) Praise God that he has been in charge from Day One and gets the job done for those who know they cannot survive without him.

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