Thursday, 22 April 2010

Warm fuzzy tarantulas

Recently, I read a book which made the following statement: "We keep fondling smooth roaches and warm fuzzy tarantulas in the dark."

Now you might begin to wonder what kind of books I am reading. It was actually a theological book on regeneration or what Jesus Christ meant when He said, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3)

So what does this have to do with roaches and tarantulas? They serve as an illustration of what effect the new birth has on a person.

But before we get to that, consider the following statement the Bible makes about a person in his natural state:

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience. (Ephesians 2:1-2, ESV)

A person who has not been given new life in Jesus Christ is described as being spiritually dead and following Satan ("the prince of the power of the air") and his desires, all the while not realising that he really is in bondage to the devil and his will.

So what can one do to be set free from this bondage? The Bible shows us that we need God's help to be set free:

God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:24-26, ESV)

This is what John Piper sees as the new birth. In his book Finally Alive, he writes,

And here is the key to liberating people from the captivity of the devil. God grants repentance - that is, he awakens the life that sees the ugliness and danger of sin and the beauty and worth of Christ. That truth sets the prisoner free.

And then he comes to this illustration:

It's what happens when a person in the dark fondles an ebony brooch hanging around his neck, and then the lights go on and he sees it's not a brooch but a cockroach, and flings it away. That's how people are set free from the devil. And until God does that miracle of new birth, we stay in bondage to the father of lies because we love to be able to tell ourselves whatever we please. We keep fondling smooth roaches and warm fuzzy tarantulas in the dark. (Finally Alive, p. 58)

I think this is a great illustration of how our attitude to sin changes once we are born again. All of a sudden, we see it for what it is - ugly and dangerous - and we do not want to have any part in it.

And this is also a good test for anyone who wonders if he has been truly born again. What is your attitude to sin? Do you cuddle it and play around with it? Or do you fling it away with disgust?

This does not mean that a person who has been born again will never sin, but it does mean that such a person will not continually live a sinful lifestyle.

No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. (1 John 3:9, ESV)

Regeneration brings about a wonderful change in the life of a person. He is saved from God’s wrath and is given spiritual and eternal life and becomes a child of God. All this is possible because of Christ’s substitutionary atonement for our sins on the cross. Although we may never fully understand the mystery of regeneration, we can never thank and praise God enough for the great work He has done for us who believe in Him.

1 comment:

Cande said...

thanks again,excellent post.
sólo decir que en nuestra vida cristiana vamos a tener continuamente cucarachas y tarántulas acercándosenos, y más de una vez nos sorprenderemos acariciando alguna, hasta que, gracias a Dios nos damos cuenta de lo que realemnte es, ahí es cuando debemos tirarla lejos, aunque a veces, por increible que parezca, cuesta.
Me ha guatado mucho leer este post. Interesante y de gran ayuda.
Saludos y bendiciones