By Dr. David Staff
Years ago, my parents bought me my first serious Bible. It was a Scofield Reference Bible, King James Version, given to me shortly after I had trusted Christ as my Savior (August 6, 1963). I had bent the knee to the savior two months before I became 10. Three months before John F. Kennedy, C.S. Lewis, and Aldous Huxley all died on the same day (Nov 22, 1963). I unwrapped mom and dad’s gift, “the Book,” on my October 6th birthday.
Today, I often look at that Bible. When I can’t find it, I go on a hunt for it. I never want to lose it. I may just spring to get it rebound in a fresh, leather cover. I anticipate re-studying it some day when my (present) vocation becomes my (future) avocation.
FOOD FOR MY YOUNG HEART
My purpose is not to brag, but that Bible is indeed worn. Not because it is over 50 years old, but rather because as a young Christian I wore it out. Much underlining of verses from Genesis to Revelation. Many notes in the margins. I recall with indescribable but just-as-if-it-happened-yesterday joy how much delight I felt in its pages, how often I heard the Holy Spirit’s voice as I pondered the words.
Many discoveries. Some of them thrilling, others sobering.
I recall one especially sobering verse, found in Paul’s letter to the Romans. Chapter 7, verse 13. The KJV reads something like “so that sin might be shown to be exceedingly sinful.” That phrase never left me. In so many places in the Bible, key people found sin attractive. Israel at the foot of Mt. Sinai, Achan, Samson, David, the prodigal son, Ananias and Sapphira. With all those people, and countless others, sin never truly was or is attractive. Its bite is irretrievable loss and death.
Here, Paul said that sin in me misused God’s law to produce death in me. The point – sin is so sinful that it produces death from a source of life. More to the point – sin is exceedingly sinful.
I always believed that the Holy Spirit had spoken to me back then, and continues to speak to me today, about the nasty, ugly, putrid nature of sin. There really is nothing at all attractive about it.
DISCIPLES OF JESUS ARE VIGILANT
Os Guiness writes, “Evil is quite simply the most serious problem in human life, the most serious problem in the contemporary world, and the most serious problem for our deepest resort in life — our trust in God or in the universe that is our planet home.”
As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, who by his life, death, and resurrection, has conquered sin and death, we must never “come to terms” with evil. There is no truce with it that should be considered, and no friendship with it that can be contemplated. We must hate it. Call it what it is. Understand what it does. And flee to the One who has from it set us free.
“Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord…the law of the (Holy) Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 7:24 and 8:2).
Be vigilant. God promises that no allure of sin is overpowering (1 Corinthians 10:13). There’s always a readied escape, divinely provided, and the Spirit’s coaching to take it. More positively, revel in the victory of our living Lord. The damned former master has lost his grip and power in us. Christ Jesus has emancipated us from sin and its nagging sister, guilt. Pray. Sing. Rejoice. Choose to live in the full provision of the abiding Spirit, who brings freedom and joy and peace. Sin need never rob us of that which God has richly supplied each of His children, each moment and every hour.