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Life Death Directional Sign

An Arab chief tells of a spy who was captured and then sentenced to death by a general in the Persian army.  This general had the strange custom of giving condemned criminals a choice between the firing squad and the big, black door.  As the moment for execution drew near, the spy was brought to the Persian general, who asked the question, “What will it be:  the firing squad or the big, black door?”

The spy hesitated for a long time.  It was a difficult decision.  He chose the firing squad.

Moments later, shots rang out, confirming his execution.  The general turned to his aide and said, “They always prefer the known way to the unknown.  It is characteristic of people to be afraid of the undefined.  Yet, we gave him a choice.”

The aide said, “What lies beyond the big door?”

“Freedom,” replied the general.  “I’ve known only a few brave enough to take it.”

We are given a choice as described in Romans 5:12-21.  Would you please take a few moments to read these verses?

Will we ride on the coattails of Adam or Jesus?  Will we choose death or life?

 We can choose death.

The Grim ReaperGod warned Adam in Genesis 2:15-17 not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or he would surely die.  Eve’s first mistake was to allow the serpent, Satan, to engage her in a conversation.  The serpent’s strategy was to question and twist the Lord’s words.  He wanted Eve to suspect God’s motives.  As a result, he was successful in getting her to disobey the Lord, and death entered the world.

The Bible defines death in different terms than we do.  While we think of death as separation from everyone and everything that we hold on to dearly in this life, God sees death as an eternity spent in hell apart from Him and His life.  While heaven is filled with the light and love that accompanies the presence of God, hell is filled with utter darkness and selfishness.

While we remain under the identity of Adam, we are doomed to suffer the consequences of his choice to sin against God.  A far-reaching curse also rests upon our souls until the remedy is found.

Babies are born in sin and have this tendency to follow their selfish inclinations.  Children do not need to be trained to be disobedient and rebellious – it comes very naturally!  The Bible gives us good reason to believe that young children are destined, by God’s mercy, for heaven if they die at an early age.  At a point that only the Lord knows, we become accountable for our choice to pursue or reject a relationship with Him.

Will we choose death, or will we choose life?

We can choose life.

Large tree in a field with the sun beaming behind it.The Bible describes Jesus Christ as the second Adam, the fresh start for all who call upon Him.  As sin and death entered the world through Adam’s disobedience, righteousness and life entered the world through Jesus.

Jesus needed to be God and man simultaneously.  He needed to be God, conceived by the Holy Spirit in a virgin and not through the seed of a man already corrupted by a sinful nature.  Jesus reflected this sinless perfection throughout His life.  He also needed to be human to identify with our weaknesses and represent us before the Father.  Jesus bridged the gap between God and us through His life, death and resurrection.

A.B. Simpson observed, “Easter is the New Year’s Day of the soul.”

We acquire a new identity through Jesus Christ when we are born again.  Good works could not simply cover up the death that reigned in us.  This death needed to be replaced by new life in us.

We think of eternal life in terms of quantity, without end.  The Bible equates eternal life with not only quantity but also quality.  Eternal life begins when we are born again with a different quality or abundance.  If we are born again and life is not more abundant, then something is wrong.  Salvation begins with a defining moment but grows in us as we allow God’s light and life to occupy every part of our souls.

Let’s give up trying to hide our sins and pretend we are someone other than ourselves.  This act only keeps us from fully experiencing God’s life and grace.  So many people are convinced they must get all cleaned up before coming to God.  Sinners are welcome!

God asks us to:

  • Recognize that we are sinful and separated from Him.
  • Receive the relationship He offers to us through Jesus Christ.
  • Allow Him to live through us.

Why do we not want to be outdone by someone when they give us a gift?  Pride.  Our Heavenly Father is offering us a gift through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.  Will we try to outdo His gift by living a life filled with good works, or will we simply receive His gift with deep, humble, and heartfelt gratitude?

We can have either death or life.  Our response to Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection determines our eternal destiny.

Forest with a fork in a row.

Allan Pole
CESLM President