Christian Faith and the Love of Life

Howdy,

When we were in our series from Ecclesiastes we read through a popular passage, quoted at length by the Byrds in their hit song Turn, Turn, Turn. There is a season for everything under Heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die. We at Bethany have had the blessing and the misfortune to experience both in recent weeks. As one life entered into the world, one has passed from it. Some at this point would make reference to the cycle of life. However, as Christians we don’t believe in such a thing. Our understanding of the world is of a beginning and an end, or maybe better said a beginning and an eternal future. The Bible starts off with an existence that is outside of time. There is no night nor day, morning or evening. When the Lord speaks, it comes to be, the light and the darkness separated. It is not the darkness which is scary. Before sin it is good. There is no reason to fear.

Yet, Adam did sin.

Which leads us to the subject of today’s prayer and worship help. The life which comes from death. When we think of life and death our minds are often drawn towards Jesus’ words to Martha in John 11. “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” When Christ says that He is the resurrection He is not merely noting that He is the one who brings the resurrection about, though that is true. No, even more than that He is testifying to the fact that it is by the power of Jesus that resurrection comes. He is the definition of resurrection. He is the resurrection. Resurrection only exists in the Son of God because He is the creator. It is in a very real way the only way it can happen. How does that make sense? Go back to Genesis 1:1 for a second and the beginning of life. Who speaks it into existence? Christ. Who is the one who raises up Adam from the dirt and breathes life into Him? Christ. How do we know that? Remember what John says at the opening of the gospel which bears his name.

All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

As you read John in both chapters 11 and 1 you are seeing what it is that enables the Christian to have comfort both in life and death. It is what moves us to praise His name and to worship Him. What a precious and lovely promise is Jesus. He is the author of life in all its different facets. He not only forms us in the womb, but He rescues us from the grave in the gift of His righteousness. He provides us life day-by-day in the daily bread of grace. He feeds us the nourishing love of Himself in the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. His Spirit brings us the light of life as we read of all His wondrous works in the gospel testimonies of the saints who have gone before. It is Jesus who hears the cries of Hagar and her son in the wilderness and provides them life-giving water. It is Jesus who through His prophet Elijah raises the son of the widow of Zarephath. It is Jesus who raises Lazarus from the dead. We could go on. Though I think you get the picture.

Of the many truisms we know of our Lord is that He is life. Let’s say that again. He is Life.

The reason why this matters is because everything else in this fallen world brings death. It is all passing away in its own way. In all our talk about nature and our responsibility of it there is a part of that conversation which hinges on the first three letters of that word, conservation. The English prefix con means to do something with and/or through something else. To con-nect or to con-sensus is to bring two things together, either to work as one, or to the same position. I know it is kind of funny to read me on English when I have such trouble speaking it. However, it is helpful as we think about life and death to note that part of our responsibility in this world as it is now is that while on one hand we confess that this is not our home, it is our home right now. We are not live outside the world any more than we are to live of it. We are to make the most of what we are given by Christ in the spiritual and physical life of His grace. That means for our purposes today that as we experience at each side of the spectrum, birth and death, we must be interested to conserve God’s gift of life for all.

It is part of the reason why Christians are so interested in protecting life from those who would prematurely bring it to a con-clusion. Abortion and euthanasia are in their own ways in service of the prince of darkness, the one who only desires destruction. It’s not a Ying and Yang situation. There is no good in Satan. From the very earliest moments of his existence his only goal was to sow chaos and confusion in the lives of men. There is a reason why when Paul describes the self-destructive nature of same-sex relationships in Romans 1 that he remarks that it brings its own form of painful judgment, the due reward of their error. Yet, even before that statement in v. 27 the Apostle notes this:

Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

You can summarize the choice made by the fools in this way. They have decided that they would rather serve death, that is the corruptible, than life, that is the incorruptible. We have just come off a day, which is one my least favorite moments of the year, where the ninth commandment evidently becomes optional for twenty-four hours. It’s silliness is childish, primarily because like the fool of Romans 1 truth becomes a play-thing. When it comes to the question of the hour, why it is we worship Christ, the risen king, it is directly because of what verse follows the portion of John 1 quoted above, “And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

In closing, we are taking time to speak on this matter for a number of reasons. Not only due to the real life reminders in the life of our congregation, but also because it is Spring and, life springs eternal. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to be re-engaged in the bright hope of our Savior and all the benefits which come from His glorious grace and mercy. See the light, love the light, and the light will be yours.

Final word:

https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/word-life-and-light

Blessings in Christ,

Rev. Benjamin Glaser

Pastor, Bethany ARP Church

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