Sunday, August 12, 2007

Life or Death

JtM taught our Sunday school class day, using the Adult Bible Series Curriculum. The lesson was based in Ezekiel 18. Take a look at these versus, in the Message version (Verses 26-28):

If a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin, he will die for it; because of the sin he has committed he will die. But if a wicked man turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he will save his life. Because he considers all the offenses he has committed and turns away from them, he will surely live; he will not die.

What does that mean? At first glance, we read it, and it says that those who sin will die, and those who do not sin, will live. But we know that, from our experience, sinners live or die and the same can be said for the righteous. It's not always the case, but usually length of life is not related to our relationship with God.

But JtM said that Ezekiel only spoke when he was speaking the word of God. As a sidenote, this is a pretty interesting Rule of Life. I would like to invite some people I know to follow it. Anyway, if Ezekiel only spoke the Word of God, then this word, above, must be true.

I was sitting in class thinking about it. The Word of God, spoken through Ezekiel. What does death mean to an eternal God who offers his children eternal life? We talked in Sunday school that life and death in this passage most likely do not mean physical life or death, but spiritual instead.

We worry alot about physical life span, and not so much about our spiritual life status. To God, though, do you think that a physical death is not very important? In the grand scheme? To God, spiritual death -- separation from his created children -- us -- might be a much larger and more important matter. Ortberg, in his book God is Closer than You Think, says that "The story of the Bible isn't primarily about the desire of the people to be with God; it's the desire of God to be with people."

God has struggled through the millenia to bring us life. Not the breathing, heart-beating kind of life, although surely that is a gift as well, but the kind of life which is abundant. Which is joyful. Life live close to God, so that his breath becomes our own.

I don't think God pulls away from us when we sin. I think when we sin, we pull away from God. We die a spiritual death. Grace is the fact that God chases us when we leave him. Grace is the fact that God offers us release from spiritual death.

Grace is that God is closer than we think, and that he offers life.

Image: We had lunch at the Boston Beanery today. Our sons and nephews were climbing on the train, and G was climbing a little too much, too high, so I gave him my camera, set for close ups and said, "Go find a flower and take its picture." That's his photo above.

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