I saw a disturbing play last weekend. It was disturbing because it spoke the truth about the condition of man. Extinction is the story of two men who, for a decade since their friendship began in college, have met annually in Atlantic City to revel in all the drugs, gambling, and women the city has to offer. This year, however, things have changed. For the first man, an awareness of the inevitability of death causes him to grasp even more desperately at all the world has to offer while he still can; he knows of nothing greater to grasp for. And though the second man’s eyes have been opened to the fleeting nature of the pleasures of sin, and he has taken steps to create new, real, lasting life for himself, we see in his story the destructive power of past sins to reach into a man’s future, destroy any goodness it finds there, and drag him back by his own lusts.
The play told the truth. The ugliness of sin was neither hidden nor glorified, and the excuses made by the characters to justify their actions looked weak and pathetic. The emptiness of their previously wasted lives was made plain, and this, one of them lamented. The play spoke the truth about the slavery of sin. But it was not the whole truth. For that was where the play ended, without any hope of freedom in sight. The men were not capable of really escaping–sin was too powerful. The end.
And this is where the story would end for all of us were it not for God snatching us out of that living death, opening our eyes to His glory, revealing Himself to us, giving us new life. Like the men in the play, we were helpless and could not escape on our own, but God stepped in and changed everything. “Our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.”
I thank God for the reminder of the slavery I’ve been rescued from, for the reminder of my desperate helplessness and need for Him, and for the reminder that there’s a whole world of people in slavery out there–people whose stories end in hopelessness because they don’t know about the One who conquered sin so that we could be free and have true life with Him. And they will never know about this hope unless we tell them. Their pain and need ought to drive everything we do.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Thank you for this gift I did not deserve, God. Thank you, thank you.