Greetings in Christ,
The temperature is hovering just under -9 degrees as I write this week’s email. I can see the smoke rising from the homes around the parsonage as the furnaces work against the cold that seeks to invade these dwellings, but is kept at bay by the warmth those furnaces provide. The cold at these levels is life threatening and most of us would find ourselves in serious trouble with only few minutes exposure to this cold. Even dressed warmly, we would begin to notice the creeping effects of the cold on our bodies in just a few minutes. Should the cold remain at this level and we remain out in it, it could take our lives from us. Once the shock of the cold had passed, our bodies would begin to shut down and we would be lulled to sluggishness, then a sleep from which we would not awaken.
The effect of sin in our lives is similar to such cold. At first we would be shocked by sin, even afraid of it and its power to damage and destroy our lives. Then, over time, we would notice it less and less until our spirits are numb to it and its effects on our life in Christ. Eventually, unrepented sin would lead us into the sleep of spiritual death from which we would not awaken.
If we are to combat the effects of extreme cold, we must first recognize the danger it presents and take measures to warm our bodies back to life. So too with the effects of sin, we much recognize the danger, the subtle danger of sin and turn to the warming mercy of God who by His forgiveness leads us out of the sleep of death sin seeks to impose on our lives. Just as we first begin to see the dangers and effect of severe cold on our physical bodies and begin to act to keep ourselves warm, so to we need to see the beginning effect sin has on our lives and begin to seek the grace that Christ gives to those who have received and live in His Spirit. We find this life giving warmth in God’s Word and His Holy Sacraments which overflowing with God’s grace and mercy keep us in the warmth of Christ.