Raising the Dead
The following is something that I wrote a while back (12.1.08 to be precise), and I figured I’d post it here just to get things started…
Raising the Dead
I think one of the more profound things I’ve heard recently is actually a very simple truth. That is, God not only heals lepers and restores sight, but He raises the dead. This is where hope is to truly be found.
For so long – most of my life, actually – I have been listening for Jesus to say “Go and wash your eyes in the Pool of Siloam” (cf. John 9). I believed that my own sin, sadness, melancholy attitude, etc. were the result of genetics, upbringing, generational sin, or just my own fallen nature. I failed to realize that God made me who I am so that His good works might be manifested in me. Now that in no way makes God responsible for my sin – He only gave me my personality and knit me together… the sin is my own, the full flowering of my depravity.
So I have been looking for the scratch for my itch – a wife for my intimacy desires, a Christ-centered community for my loneliness, a sweet gig for my greed… the list goes on. And I’ve been listening for God to tell me, “Hey, I fixed this… all you have to do is go ‘wash yourself off’ and you’ll see that it’s been taken care of.” But this is woefully inadequate when it comes to truly dealing with the roots of sin, and it can’t be heard because God’s not saying it. My God is holy… and not the awesome vaulted-ceiling-cathedral kind of holy, but really holy. Like touch-the-Ark-of-the-Covenant-and-you’re-toast holy. Your-goat-touches-the-foot-of-the-mountain-that-God-has-enveloped-in-a-cloud-of-His-glory and it’s game over for him… that kind of holy. And I’m sinful. But not in the “I got frustrated at work” kind of sinful… I mean I’m the rebellious, prideful, self-aggrandizing seminary junkie expecting the world to cater to my needs sinful.
So I can’t downplay my sin and trivialize God’s holiness – I must accept them both at full-strength, like a stiff shot of whisky or a black cup of coffee. And this means that dealing with it isn’t just a cleanliness issue, it’s a death issue. I’m not just a kid with a dirty diaper, I’m a corpse in the morgue.
There’s no spit-shine miracle mud that can peel away the layers of prideful self-pity and the heart calloused by lust and lies. No, it takes more. It takes a miracle like making dead man live again. I’ve tried taking showers, and I’ve tried the various approaches to making amends with or accepting my junk… but none of them work. If I am to be free from the chains of my sin, I must die… be slain… expire… exhale that stirring death rattle. I must see myself as a flat-lined dead body in terms of sin. And not only that, but I must see that the same breath of life that was breathed into Adam has flooded into my lungs by the death, burial and resurrection of the Second Adam (see Romans 5), and the same Spirit that resurrected Christ in the tomb is at work in my heart. I must not only die to sin, but live, breathe, and walk by the Spirit.
I think this is the heart behind Romans 5-8 and Galatians 5… that we are dead to sin and alive in Christ. We must consider ourselves as cold decaying corpses to the wicked pursuits of the flesh, and vibrant, alive and joyfully responsive/submissive to the Spirit if we are to see victory, peace, and joy this side of heaven. Satan’s fate is sealed – death and hell await him. But our King Jesus is alive and well, sitting on his throne – or atop his white horse (Revelation 19:11ff), whichever suits your fancy.