The evangelist Billy Graham who lived to be 99 years old was once asked "what is the greatest surprise of your life?" To which he responded without hesitation, "the brevity of it." He went on to say that he never dreamed life was going to be so short. It is remarkable how fast time flies, isn't it? Even in these days of quarantine and sheltering, time marches on. If you're a teen-ager or young adult, you see it in your parents and grandparents as they show signs of aging. If you're a parent yourself, you see it in your kids as they grow older. If you're long past parenting age, you see it in the mirror. And you would think, as we get older, we would be growing wiser about God and life. But I think experience shows us that's not necessarily the case, especially when it comes to dealing with our sin nature.
In Romans, the Apostle Paul explains how we are all slaves to sin. We have inherited a nature that causes us to rebel, in thought and action, against our Creator and against our fellow human beings. Over the weekend, I was watching the protests and riots taking place across the country, triggered by the death of George Floyd. It has all been very sad and distressing to watch. In an effort to calm the public, government leaders say that we're better than this, better than the looting and violence taking place. I realize they're appealing to the integrity of the people but biblically-speaking, it's not true. Stuck in our pride and sinfulness, we are not better than this. Actually, this is who we are. From the first family in Genesis, we see Cain disobeying God and violently taking his anger out on his brother Abel, demonstrating his depravity. Psalm 14:1 says "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good." The effect of sin in our lives is great. Even before Cain lures Abel into the field, the Lord tells Cain in Genesis 4:7, 'sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it."
We have a sin problem and it is planted deep within us. On our own, we are helpless to resist it. And that's why sometimes we do the terrible things we do. Even if we don't discriminate and perpetrate injustice against others or riot and loot in response, we need to be vigilant against the sin that can capture our hearts and minds. Paul says in Romans 7:21-25, "So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
Christ is the answer to the sin and depravity within us. He gives us strength and guidance to do what is right but more than that, through His death and resurrection, He delivers us from sin and death. Our sin is great but God's love is greater! Romans 5:8 says "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Life on earth is short. Before we know it, we will stand before God. Let us give our lives then to the One who loves us, died for us, and can deliver us from the penalty of sin and death. Let us turn our lives over to Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen!