Slideshow image

It is bitter cold here in northwest Missouri and it brought a story to mind. A few years ago I was in Minneapolis, MN for a Pastor’s Conference put on by Bethlehem Baptist Church (John Piper) and it was a record breaking cold, even for the twin cities. It hit -50 degrees. Being midwesterners meant that we were prepared for the cold, but we were absolutely not prepared for that. Thankfully, Minneapolis has a nice indoor Skyway that we were able to take most places. However, there were a few places that required we step outside. It. Hurt. Every time we had to step outside it physically hurt. It was so cold we were warned that even just a few minutes of exposure to the skin would begin frostbite and if the process began a few more minutes would cause irreversible damage.  

As I was thinking of this story this morning I couldn’t help but to see another illustration regarding sin and repentance from a sermon I recently preached out of Matthew 3:1-6. John’s warning here serves us well, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For those of us who are in Christ we can rejoice that we cannot out sin the grace of God but that does not mean that succumbing to sin cannot cause irreversible damage. James warns us,“…each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (James‬ ‭1‬:‭14‬-‭15‬ ‭ESV‬‬) 

Like frostbite can render a limb lifeless so can sin to parts of our lives. Sin, as it takes root in our lives, can lead to all kinds of death. Sin has destroyed countless marriages, broken down relationships between parents and children, driven a wedge between brothers and sisters in Christ, split churches, and has lead to the countless crises we see in our world today. But, Paul writes, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians‬ ‭15‬:‭56‬-‭58‬ ‭ESV‬‬) 

Our God is the God who brings life from death and is our victory over sin! “Look unto me and ye be saved!” (Isaiah 45:22) Paul writes to the Corinthians, ”…the word of the cross… to us who are being saved is the power of God.”  (‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭1‬:‭18‬ ‭ESV‬‬, emphasis added) I wish I could say that this is a promise of God to save everything that has been put to death from sin but I cannot. However, death does not get the final say! Perhaps, from death, life is brought by being spared from future calamity through the pursuit of God and His holiness. That is, to live a life of repentance. God is in the business of salvation. He has saved us from an eternal spiritual death through the death and resurrection of His Son and continues to save us from the death that sin brings as we live a life of repentance: continually turning from sin toward the Savior!