5. The Dung Gate

Nehemiah 3:14. When a person has been through the valley of the shadow of death, or in some other way, experienced a season of being in the valley of the dark night of the soul, there will be a sense that God has sharpened, or pruned or weaned us off what was either sinful or hurtful to us.  This is God’s recycling of our experiences. In this sense, nothing is wasted in the Kingdom of God.  This is the process of sanctification, and the process is a beautiful and sometimes painful experience that God allows to set us free from sin (dung).

This means that what we need to lose in the spiritual life is waste, or dung.  The Apostle Paul refers to this in the spiritual life in Philippians 3:8, “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them rubbish (dung), that I may gain Christ.”  The Greek word for rubbish here is ‘skubalon’, which is about the good for nothing, worthless and detestable, filthy scraps of waste that are thrown to the dogs, if they will eat them!  (You get the portrait Paul is painting of sin)!

This is the place in the spiritual life where believers learn what repentance and cleansing is really about.  Historically, all of Jerusalem’s rubbish was taken through this gate and burned, where, as Jesus said in eschatological language, “the worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48). It was a grim, perpetual place of reminder: Your sin is here.  Thank God Jesus has “become sin” for us so that “we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Just as this waste or garbage must be taken out of the city, so must sin be taken out of a Christian’s life.  In the Old Testament Levitical sacrifices, only the parts of the animals that God had authorised could be used.  Everything else must be disposed of in the right way.  Thus when Christians pray the Lord’s prayer, we are offering ourselves back to God in the way God has informed us to offer ourselves. That repentance is a feature of our lives, is the spiritual equivalent of what the Letter of James calls “true religion” (1:27).

Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Corinthians 7:1).  The next gate is very close to the Dung Gate, and it is where we go to experience the “streams of living water” that Jesus mentions in John 7:38.

Ps. In God’s providence, this post on the DUNG Gate is number 666 on this blog. It matters to our holy, holy, holy God that we deal with sin.

Comments are closed.

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑