Another fourfold, this one on sin and death.
“Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.” Do you believe that? Someday God will tread iniquity underfoot- don’t get so attached that you cannot escape. Sin is sin. It is sinful. It is real. It is an enemy in the Christian soul. Like its master, it seeks only to steal, kill, and destroy. Sin may be an inescapable fact of the Christian experience, but it need not be so for the Christian life. “Count yourselves dead to sin,” said the apostle. How? By dying. What are crosses for if not to die upon?
Don’t be surprised that you must die. You aren’t the first one to pass through dark waters. It was fitting for the Captain of our salvation to be made perfect through suffering- will we not follow him, our victorious slain Lamb?
God is a showman; he knows it is more impressive to create a nation in the desert than in the land of milk and honey, and so he does it, with a pillar of fire for proper effect, lest his people begin to believe that manna is merely a new meteorological phenomenon in the Middle East.
I say God is a showman; he knows it is more impressive to keep someone alive in death than in trials. “You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Put to death, therefore, that which is earthly in you.” It does not matter how beautiful a butterfly’s wings are, if the body they are attached to is still that of a caterpillar.
One of the unavoidable features of death is that it requires dying, this is true. But the question that must be asked is, what are we dying to? Self. Sin. Death. It is only in death that we may live because the principle of entropy itself has been turned on its head. The river Styx stands between us and the call to “come, all who are thirsty,” but having gone beneath its waters to emerge on the other side, we realize that it was not Styx, but Jordan, that we have crossed. This may be frightening, but what is the alternative? Eternal animated death? There is no hope for the harvest if the seeds are not planted.
“Come to me, all who are heavy laden, and find rest for your souls. Take my yoke [read “cross”] upon you, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Don’t be afraid to die. There is a friend closer than a brother waiting on the other side.