In the last installment, we saw how sin is death, and how there is no KIND OF dead, just as there is no KIND OF pregnant. Big sin, little sin, total dead.
People who haven’t read the Bible like to say God is all fire and brimstone in the Old testament, but its mainly because they haven’t read all of it. Its there that we read this:
“Do you think that I like to see wicked people die?” says the Sovereign LORD. “Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live.”
“For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord GOD. “Therefore, repent and live.” –Ezekiel 18:23 and 32
If we turn away from our sin and turn to God (an act the Bible calls Repentance) He will forgive us. But how can he forgive us and still be just? The debt of our sin needs to be paid, it cannot merely be ignored, so God pays that debt for us.
Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
God stepped into human history as Jesus and lived a sinless life so that he could be the perfect sacrifice whose death paid the penalty for our sins. God now gives us the offer of salvation- grace- the free gift through Jesus death and resurrection.
The blood of Jesus brings spiritual zombies back to life. If this seems like a sacrilegious metaphor, then take it from Jesus. John 6 says, “
53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.”
I don’t make this stuff up you know, and when you don’t believe me it hurts my feelings.
Jesus is making a metaphor which we act out in communion. We eat the bread which is his body, and drink the wine (or grape juice) which is his blood which were given on the cross to pay for our sins. We can eat other flesh and blood all day long and it will make us nothing more than vampires and zombies, but when we accept the body and blood of Jesus Christ, he brings us back to life, and we have his life in us.
Ephesians 2: 4-5, 8-9 puts it this way:
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— .. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Did you catch that last part? We can’t earn it. We can’t pay for it. We can’t pay it back. We are forgiven merely by accepting. Zombies can drink the blood that brings them back to life, or they can turn and run away and remain dead. Those are the only options available to us.
If I may make a prettier metaphor- we are Snow White. Evil found us, and it looked so good and harmless that we took a bite, but one bite was all that was needed to kill us. We lay in our coffin until the son of the king comes to bring us back to life with his love. The Story of Snow White is the gospel.
So is Sleeping Beauty. The prince slays the evil dragon and wakes us from the sleep of death, offering his hand in marriage.
In both cases, the princesses have contributed the same thing- they’ve helped get themselves into the mess they were in, and they can do nothing to get themselves out. The prince slays the dragon and brings her back from death while she is in the sleep of death.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Next time we’ll take a closer look at the process of waking from death, just to make sure it’s clear. Until then, just remember, #JesusLovesYou