Saturday, January 20, 2007

Bang, Bang, You’re Dead

Somehow, boys just learn about weapons. There is a picture of one-year old James and his cardboard swords
here. He just picked them up one day and decided that they were likely weapons. He also has a little pistol – he can’t really control it enough to aim it, yet, but soon he’ll be taught that you don’t point even a toy pistol at anybody. As kids, most of us at one time played guns; cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, or something of the sort (I don’t know what the PC police have done with the name of that second game). Then we’d have arguments after somebody shouted, “bang, you’re dead,” and the other person didn’t fall down.
Paul, in Romans 6, is teaching about spiritual death – of a couple of different kinds. In the first two verses he writes: “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”
We all used to be dead in our sins. To ask, “should we go on sinning,” indicates that this was our lifestyle. And our sinfulness made us dead to God. Here’s how Paul puts it in other places:
Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:16)

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23).

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins…. (Colossians 2:13).
Our sinful behaviors place a gulf between us and God. God is Holy and He wants us to be Holy, as well. But when we are unrepentant sinners, when we continue to sin without asking God’s forgiveness, we can never cross that gap and live in peace with God.

Now, Paul says, you are dead to sin. We don’t live in it anymore. We don’t wallow in it. Does that mean that we’re perfect; that once we’re saved, we’ll never sin again? Some people believe that. But that is not what this verse means – and those of us who are Christians know full well that we are not perfect. What is means is that we won’t pay the price for our sins eternally, and that we can get better; we can, with the help of God; grow more and more like Christ.

Most of us have seen the TV commercials which proclaim “It’s not delivery; it’s DiGiorno.” (It’s about pizza, for those of you who have not seen it). Where I live, it’s hard to get delivery. When we first moved here, even the UPS man complained about coming “way out here.” The delivery Paul is writing about is of greater value – and it’s “free delivery;” no hidden costs. Here’s what he has to say about delivery in these verses:
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. (Romans 6:6-9)
Delivery is free. Read v. 23 again. It’s a gift. Being delivered from the consequences of our own sins is a gift from God. It’s like the difference between a wage and a bonus…. Yet,
Delivery comes with a price. That sounds like a contradiction, perhaps, but the point here is that it’s free to us but the prices does have to be paid. Let’s face it, if you get free delivery of your pizza, the price of the delivery is built into the price of the food. The wages of sin is death. The wages must be paid. There are several references to Christ’s death in this short passage. His death – and His subsequent resurrection – are the price paid to God for our sins. They cost God great pain, but delivery into eternal life costs us nothing.

It’s not DiGiorno. It’s delivery; and it’s free.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


My family went on it's annual ski trip last week. Three generations on the slopes. (For more info on this check in at I lead devotions for the family every night after skiing (Weather petmitting, that is. We did ski this year!). I thought I'd share the outline of those devotions with you. Discussion is the intent of the outlines.

Simcha · January 8-12, 2007
Ludlow, Vermont (Okemo)
Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.
-Ephesians 5:15-17
Theme: Resolutions

Monday, 1/8/07 – Resolved: Inquire of God.
Read 2 Chronicles 20:1-12.
Jehoshapat was a good king of Judah. He sent priests throughout the land instructing the people in the Law. There was relative peace in Judah during his reign. But now Jehshaphat was surrounded by enemies. Judah was on the brink of annihilation. So Jehoshaphat made a resolution. What did he resolve? What did this look like? What did it mean?
Now read verse 12. This is a good recognition for us at all times. We are not strong enough.
But He is. READ also: Zephaniah 1:1-6.

Tuesday, 1/9/07 – Resolved: My mouth will not sin.
Read Psalm 17:1-5.
The first part of this Psalm is a plea to God about David’s innocence. David! This is the same David who was an adulterer and a murderer. What do you think about that? In the second half of the Psalm David pleads for God’s protection. What is David’s resolution? How would that apply to David? How does it apply to us?

Read Job 2:7-10.

Wednesday, 1/10/07 – Resolved: Abstain from choice things of the culture.
Read Daniel 1:1-8.
We know the context here. Daniel and the other three young Hebrews were selected for the “Royal Academy” at Nebuchadnezzar’s court. They were given a good life and were to eat from the King’s own food. But Daniel refused. Why? How does that translate into our time and culture? Read 1 Corinthians 6:12; then 1 Corinthians 10:23. What do these mean?

Thursday, 1/11/07 – Resolved: To know Christ and Him Crucified.
Read 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.
To know = eidenai, a word from the root oida. It means more than “know” in the intellectual sense. It also means: appreciate, be aware, become learned, be conscious of, realize, recognize, understand, understanding. It is also related to the word for “house.” So it also can have the meaning “belonging, devoted to, adherents of a thing.” So given all this sterling knowledge of the original language and given the context of the passage and the theology of the writer, what does this mean for us today as we strive to “know Jesus Christ and Him crucified?”