Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Scary Story--Stalked By A Corpse

What if you found out that a corpse is stalking you? I mean a real corpse... a bone-a-fide (pun intended), verified dead person; and not just any old dead person, but one who was, when alive, a vile, immoral, impure, evil and covetousness person. A corpse who has no love for you or anyone else and in fact would just as soon see you dead, too. A stinking, rotting, decayed mass of sinful pride, jealousy, false love, disobedience and gossipy envy. I have news for you: there may be such a being stalking you right now. The Bible tells all about it, and even identifies it. It's your old self.

If you have been born from above, made alive in Christ by God's gracious gift of salvation, then you've definitely experienced the dilemma of being stalked by the "corpse" of your old self. "We know that our old self was crucified with him..." (Romans 6:6a). The old self of the believer, nailed to the Cross of Christ, is indeed dead as dead as can be. The old self was killed "in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin" (Romans 6:6b). That means that we have been legally freed from the old self's control. The problem is that this sinful old self refuses to admit he's dead! He's like the battlefield enemy who heard that the war is over and that his side lost, but is bitterly determined to fight on to the very end, taking down any enemy he can. And you're the enemy. Though defeated, the old self still stalks you, trying to entice you back into the old life of sin and misery.

And if you don't understand that the new you--the you who was raised to new life in Christ--has been freed by the Cross from obligation to him (Romans 8:12-13), then the old self has won a temporary victory! That stinking, rotting body of death will draw you in at every opportunity, luring you into all manner of earthly deeds--jealousy, covetousness, gossip, strife, and a host of others. That oozing corpse will try to attach itself around your affections and tempt you to neglect God and his word, to avoid prayer, and to isolate yourself from the body of Christ. Your old self--that grinning, hideous corpse of death--can be very persuasive.

What to do? Why, as John Owen said, you must "be killing sin or it will kill you." Though the old self is legally dead we find must keep killing it, as it were (Ephesians 4:22, Romans 13:14). Though that law of sin was decisively dealt with on the Cross, God has ordained that these vicious, intensive skirmishes will continue until the day we die or the Lord returns. But learning to glory in the truths of Romans 6:6 and Romans 8:12-13 encourages us to reckon ourselves "dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:11). Knowing these truths gives us the strength to overcome this "law of sin... this body of death" (Romans 7:23, 24)-- to deal with by faith with this un-alive corpse that rises up to wreck our Christian walk. The gospel, the good news of what Christ accomplished on the Cross, is the truth that enables us to fight the good fight of faith. God is for us in this fight.

Being stalked by a rotten, defeated corpse isn't really the scary thing. The really scary thing would be not to know or care what the Scriptures say about these things! The most scary thing of all would be to refuse to do this: "Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming" (Colossians 3:5-6).

Don't be scared of a corpse this Halloween. Learn to fear the Lord!


Carol Shadix Short said...

Jeri! You blog girl!!!

Jeri Tanner said...

Yes Carol, I'm a sometimes blogger!