The following is an excerpt from the book, Real Life Moments, by J. Mark Fox, C4FIC Board member.
“…while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8
One of my favorite books from childhood was the story of “The Five Chinese Brothers.”
Each brother had a special ability. The first brother was able to hold all the water of the sea in his mouth. One day he sucked up the sea to pick up fish off the bottom.
A boy came out into the empty sea and started making faces at the first brother, who couldn’t hold the sea for long and tried to warn the boy before it spilled out. But the boy got caught up in the water and drowned.
The townsfolk arrested the first brother for the murder of the little boy and sentenced him to death. Before the execution, the second brother, whose neck was as strong as iron, took his brother’s place. When the executioner tried to cut off his head, the sword bounced off.
The next night the third brother, whose legs could stretch, replaced the second. So when they threw him into the sea, he stretched his legs. His feet went down and his head stayed up.
They decided to burn him, so the fourth brother, who could not be burned, replaced the third.
Finally, the judge decided to suffocate the boy. But the fifth brother, who could hold his breath indefinitely, replaced the fourth. In the end, the judge decided the boy must really be innocent and he let him go.
Well, I have good news and I have bad news. The bad news is that the story is not true. None of us is innocent and each of us one day must die. The statistic is pretty secure: One out of one dies.
In fact, the news is worse. The Bible tells us that we are already spiritually dead in trespasses and sins. I wonder … when did that happen?
Did I die in my sins when I was 12 and had really honed rebellion to a fine art? That’s when I remember throwing a dodge ball at Mrs. Beck, my sixth-grade teacher, on purpose, when she wasn’t looking, and hitting her in the head.
But I died long before that. Was it when I was in the fourth grade? That’s when I remember getting my mouth washed out with soap one Sunday because of something I had said at church, out loud, to a girl.
No, I died long before then. Was it when I was 5 and my mother told me to stay out of the poison oak, and I grabbed a handful of the healthiest poison oak I could find and rubbed it on my face? Was that when I died?
No, even before that. The Bible says that I was “brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” I was born spiritually dead, and so were you. That’s the bad news and it’s really bad.
Do you want to hear the good news? The good news is even gooder than the bad news is bad. Gooder is better than badder! I know that is terrible grammar, but it is wonderful theology.
Jesus Christ came to take my place, and yours, and to die for our sins. And for a Christian, the story of the Chinese brothers does have a ring of truth. In Christ, there is nothing the world can do to me. They can take my physical life, but the life I have in Christ will never end.
In my sins, I could not live. In Christ, I cannot die. That is really good news!
Prayer: “Lord, thank You for raising me from the spiritual death I born into and giving me new life in Christ!”
Action: Talk to your children about the pervasive worldview that says man is naturally good and it is his environment that makes him do bad things. Explain the biblical worldview that contradicts that.