“You were dead in your sins…” Eph. 2:1
John Wesley was one of the greatest preachers in British and American history, and the founder of the Methodist movement. He also had an awesome mom, Susanna Wesley. John recalls that at a young age he asked his mother the question “what is sin”? Susanna, always quick-tongue replied
“Sin” is not just a word invented by the theologians. Its not just a label to slap on certain vices. The word itself is a target-practice word: it means very simply a “miss.” The Christian story began with humanity ‘missing’ what it was intended to be. We missed the glory we were originally meant for. We missed the life that was once ours … the life of fulfilment, satisfaction, and fullness. We missed the intimacy that God created us to have with Himself and with each other. Sin is missing out on something that should’ve been ours.
One writer in the New Testament said that there was a time when all of us were ‘dead in our sins.’ The implication is that there are people walking around who think they are alive, when really they are dead. Sin kills us. Spiritually. Physically. Literally.
Sin kills your innocence. Even psychologists say that you never forget things that you do in your past. Your choices always remain lodged with you. Every time you choose to sin, you become something a little bit different than you were before…it always leaves a mark, always leaves a scar, and cannot be forgotten. Most of us are somewhat inescapably wounded by the choices of our past … sin transcends time and stretches across generations. In places where once there was purity, there is guilt, shame, and embarassment.
Sin kills your ideals. What you start to tolerate, you will eventually begin to accept. Sin causes people over time to participate in things they once regarded as ghastly, horrible, or unacceptable. It numbs values and erodes priorities. Each mistake makes the next one easier. It leads to the absolute abandonment of values.
Sin kills your intentions. The life of purity is a life filled with dreams and hope for the future. Hope of becoming a better person. Intentions on being a certain kind of man or woman. Intentions that often lead to the will to act. Intentions on acting courageously, selflessly. Sin erodes away the will to act, the intentions to be, and the hopes to become. Sin leads to sin. The more and more sin is fed, the more and more it requires to satisfy it. It weakens the will, and dominates people’s lives.
There is something insanely murderous about sin. Its a virus, a sickness, and a disease that has left its mark deep within humanity. It entraps, ensnares and enslaves people to the point where no matter how hard they struggle, they cannot get free from its grip.
This is how we die… not the physical death, but the slow, gradual, unsuspecting disintegration of those things that make us human, leaving us with numb souls, anesthetized hearts, and rapacious cravings…