Christian HazMat Suits
Defining “HazMat” and “HazMat Suits”
For those who have worked in industrial yards, factories, or other environments containing harmful agents, the term HazMat is a familiar one. For others unacquainted with the term, defining is required. HazMat is a shortened designation for Hazardous Materials. Workers in industries that use, transport, and create these types of materials are required to participate in rigorous training to ensure human safety around these harmful substances. Part of this training includes education on how to safely use and maintain protective HazMat suits. In short, HazMat suits protect people from all sorts of harmful substances. Using some principles related to the requirement and use of HazMat suits, several spiritual applications may be made.
Sin is HazMat
Sin is a vile and dangerous thing. The very descriptions of sin that we see in the Bible illustrate it as a dirty and hazardous substance. One of these powerful images is used in Zechariah 3. Joshua, the high priest during the return from Babylonian captivity, is portrayed as wearing “filthy garments.” These filthy garments are representative of sin’s contamination of man, the most disturbing of all plagues, and the consequent unassailable chasm between mankind and God (cf. Isa. 64:6).
In Isaiah 1, the sin of the people is portrayed as a stain, clearly evident, that has contaminated the people. The sins had stained the people and their failure to recognize this contamination had allowed their religion to become futile. God could not hear them because they were contaminated by their sins.
In these two passages, as well as countless others, the sins of men are portrayed as contaminants that drive a wedge between himself and God. Nevertheless, in both passages, God provides a way of decontamination and a mode by which to be guarded from these contaminants in the future. In Zechariah, Joshua is given new clean robes and told to submit to the rule of God. In Isaiah, the people are called to cleanse themselves through reasoning with God. In a figurative sense, God offers these people, and us, a HazMat suit for protection from sin.
Christians Possess HazMat Suits
God gives Christians a HazMat suit to keep us untainted and clean in this sickly world. This suit is represented in two ways. Under the New Testament system, believers are baptized into Christ and clothed with Him (Gal. 3:27). Here, our HazMat suit is portrayed as Christ Himself! He is given as a protective layer against contamination by the world! The Christian HazMat suit is also comprised of God’s Word which protects and allows us to persist unblemished in a world tainted and marred by sin.
In addition to one’s own gaining of the God-given HazMat suit, Christians need to actively desire to assist others in gaining Christ as their HazMat suit. In Jude 23, Jude powerfully demonstrates how Christians need to be concerned for people lost and contaminated in sin and how we need to have a conscious desire to bring them out of that state. We do have to be watchful though because we may drift ourselves if our suit is being misused.
Christians Need to Learn How to Operate Their HazMat Suits
Pure and undefiled religion requires keeping oneself unstained from the world (James 1:27; 2Pet. 3:11-18). In order to achieve this, one must learn to properly use their HazMat suit. God is the only one capable of training us to do this. Once we put on Christ as our HazMat suit, God requires that we learn how to properly use this suit to fend off the infectious agents of sin. We take part in a training process through growing in God’s Word, learning to fend off Satan through Scripture just as Jesus did. We must learn how to use our HazMat suit properly if we wish to stave off contamination.
We must be careful that we do not allow tears to open up and allow our suit to become unfit for protection. Just because God has provided us with a suit of protection, it does not mean that we can allow our suit to fall into disrepair. We must press on to maturity so that we can distinguish between good and evil, safe substances and HazMat (Heb. 5:14). We must also be diligent to keep free from the sins of others lest we enter into the same state of condemnation as they.
We have God’s Word and God’s Son. They provide a barrier between us and the world. They help us to stay unstained by the world and remain in an uncontaminated state. Let us all desire to use our HazMat suits properly and stay unblemished and uninfected by this world. Remembering this will save lives.