I missed a couple of weeks of Old Testament bible study and decided to catch up in numbers where we are currently. In Numbers 6:1-12 describes the Nazirite. This is essentially someone who chose to dedicate themselves to the Lord for a period of time. In this scripture, it talks about how if a person dies in their presence they have sinned and must start their dedication over.
They must rededicate themselves to the Lord for the same period of dedication and must bring a year-old male lamb as a guilt offering. The previous days do not count, because they became defiled during their period of dedication.
This made me look at Christianity in a way I haven’t before. What if after sinning we must begin again? Our previous time as a Christian no longer counts because we have defiled ourselves. Our instruction is to repent in our hearts for what we have done and set our sights on not sinning again. We don’t need the animal sacrifice of a guilt offering because our Lord Jesus Christ was the blood sacrifice to atone for all of our sins, past, current, and future. However, we have to do something in ourselves to renew our dedication.
In this scripture in numbers, it talks about not cutting their hair.
5 During the entire period of their Nazirite vow, no razor may be used on their head. They must be holy until the period of their dedication to the Lord is over; they must let their hair grow long.
What if this hair growth is meant to show others how long they have remained faithful to their vow of dedication to God?
9 If someone dies suddenly in the Nazirite’s presence, thus defiling the hair that symbolizes their dedication, they must shave their head on the seventh day—the day of their cleansing.
What if we are supposed to track our own progress in this way as well?
Addicts will often keep track of how long they have been clean. It serves as a sign of their accomplishment, motivating them to keep going, and starting over serves as a deterrent to falling off the wagon. Sin is the ultimate addiction. Sin varies so greatly that it is practically impossible to avoid, some of us never realize how we have sinned. Those are the sins we will answer for in God’s presence. The sins we do know about, we must not hide from. We must not pretend God does not know exactly what we did. We must recommit ourselves to the Lord and begin again.
Our Christian status is only as long as the time since we last sinned and repented until the current time. If we sinned and didn’t repent, we are in a defiled state. Unless we cut the hair off by beginning again in re-dedication, we could die in that defiled state. What do you believe would have happened to an Israelite if he had decided not to cut his hair and start over? Do you believe God would have been pleased with his vow upon completion? Jesus and the Holy Spirit compels us not to sin and to repent when we do. This is an expectation and demonstration of our faith. It is the way to maintain our relationship with God.
The sins other people don’t know about; those are sins against God. Those sins still defile us.
The sins that others do know about, the ones that have harmed others in some way, those are sins against our neighbor.
These acts break our commitment to God. We must renew that commitment, and in doing so begin again.
There are many of us who look at our years of bible study, years of practice of our faith, years of attendance in church as something to be proud of and something to tell others. This could lead us to no longer grow and mature in our faith. What does it mean that you have studied the bible so long if you are still sinning? Is it something to be proud of if you have not learned from that study? What difference does it make how long you have practiced your faith if you are still sinning? Length of service has no bearing on the salvation freely offered to us. What does it matter how long you’ve attended church, if the call to worship has not caused the maturity to refrain from sin?
This is why none of us can boast about our achievements. If we are not perfect, we cannot boast in ourselves but must instead boast in the Lord. What this means is by God’s grace and mercy I am saved in spite of my sinful and flawed nature. However, if one remembers how long it has been since their last sin they can remain humble when considering the sins of others. A person who recognizes that they still have not matured too far beyond sin will never stop maturing, and will never stop trying to better themselves. Measure the length of your hair by keeping track of how long it has been since your last sin. This may give us a better perspective, a more humble perspective on our faith.