For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.John 5:21
Our world fails to understand the gravity of sin.
Then again, as The Book says, there is nothing new under the sun1. My Lord lived in the same world. The dates were different, the world population was smaller, and the day’s technological marvels would fail to impress the hyper-stimulated modern cynic.
Yet people haven’t changed in the slightest. From the temptation of Eve to the very second you read these words, human beings have underestimated the horror of sin.
To illustrate my point, Mark 2:1-2 tells of a time when four friends lowered their paralyzed buddy through the roof of a crowded building so he could see Jesus. Upon seeing the unfortunate fellow, Jesus declared to him, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
But the crowd wasn’t impressed until Jesus spoke again and the paralyzed man regained the use of his body.
In a similar way, our prayer requests often reflect a deeper fear of physical suffering than fear we will be guilty of gossip. We are afraid of being murdered while murdering people with our tongues. And yet the truth is, unless we accept the Son of God as our Master, we are already dead.
As it’s been said, Jesus didn’t come to show us how to be good. He came to breathe life into our animated corpses. This life and death dynamic is what I’ve been mulling over after reading and re-reading John 5 a few days ago.
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.John 5:24
Friends, Jesus stepped down into a world ruined by sin and took a stand against this great death-bringer. For a time, He forsook His rightful glory and the joys of perfect union in the mysterious community of the Triune and lived as a man. He endured temptation as a man, but He alone never gave into it and so He alone was a fully living Man.
Because of this, His willingness to trade His singular purity secures value sufficient to cover our debt – for we have sinned and earned death; He refused sin and traded His matchless gift for our wages to any who will accept His offer2.
But we must choose to accept His gift of life.
Instead, we bicker and squabble over temporary concerns, pointing out specks in the eyes of others while ignoring the massive planks that blind us3. We pray for health and comfort while using both to drink down death, serving self instead of our Sovereign. In so many ways, we sin, and we do not see it for what it is – the truest and most horrible death. Because we are addicted to death, we refuse to submit to the One who came to offer life.
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.John 5:39-40
Don’t miss out on this chance, friends. As the days darken and the rumbles of war send tremors across every land, don’t forget that all sin is death.
Sin is a gilded cage, a poison that tastes like ambrosia. The happiness it promises is fleeting at best, a hollow satisfaction all too easily imploding under the least pressure. Sooner or later, the sweetest sin gives its captives a taste of hell on earth – the flavor of death to taint this life with the enemy’s own eternal destination, one he wants you to share.
Misery, as is said, loves company.
But sin isn’t the victor unless you allow it. The Son of Man still stands ready to receive all who belong to Him. Even now, the One greater than Moses says, “I have set before you today life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore, choose life…4”
Turn away from your sin. You are only captive if you want to be. You can turn to the Son of God who came to give you life5 – a sweet taste of it here and now to infuse life’s sorrows with the essence of eternal joy in the presence of God. Jesus
Jesus alone can replace the musty tang of death with the delightful savor of life. But the choice is yours.
1Ecclesiastes 1:9; 2Romans 6:23; 3Matthew 7:3-5; 4Deuteronomy 30:19; 5John 10:10