It’s funny how two people can share the same parents and be so different. That’s how it is with me and my brother. We’re a year apart, looking at us you’d know we were brothers, but we have so little in common. He’s taller than me for a start and very agile. It made him a certainty for school teams in rugby and football. He was also a good cricketer and excelled in athletics, being a county athlete and school champion. You’ll have guessed by now I didn’t make any teams, and me and athletics just didn’t get on. The PE teacher regretted ever putting a javelin in my hands. My brother’s practical and can turn his hand to everything. A friend of mine was once surprised to hear I owned a screwdriver. He has an obsessive personality which means he wants to be the best at everything he does. I’m happy to come a distant last, I’ve never been competitive.
Brothers, same father, same mother, but so different. It’s a common theme in the Bible. Take the very first two brothers as an example. Their names were Cain and Abel, sons of Adam and Eve. Abel was a man of faith who wanted to please God. Cain was a selfish man who wanted to please himself, and one day, in anger, he killed his brother.(1) For any quizzers reading that’s the second sin mentioned in the Bible. The first was eating forbidden fruit, which doesn’t sound much, but this is what it led to as a second sin, murder.
Sin is like a virus, and we know all about viruses. It spreads quickly and at a rapid pace, leaving death and destruction in its wake. The majority who catch coronavirus will survive, but everyone who catches sin dies, not physical death but spiritual, a separation from God. There’s no escape. In fact sin is so bad we’re born with it, like a baby can be born an addict because of the parent’s habit. Since the first man Adam sinned we have all inherited his sinful nature.(2) It doesn’t take long in our growing up before we sin, every parent sees it in their child who, despite all their best efforts, one day does something that is clearly wrong. It may be a small thing but it’s still wrong.
Is a fair to call a small thing sin? We imagine it to be some kind of big crime, like murder, or abuse in its many forms, or violent robbery. It’s true they are all sinful activities because they break God’s laws, but sin is more than that. Sin is choosing our own way over God’s. Sin is being confronted with two choices, our way or God’s way, and consistently choosing our way. We’re all born with the ability to make choices, a gift from God, but sin leads to us making wrong choices. Making the wrong choices begins at an early age and continues through life.
If sin separates us from God what can I do about it? This coronavirus crisis may be causing you to question your life, and you may now decide that you want God to be a part of it. What can you do to draw close to God? The answer is nothing, absolutely nothing. We’re not able to get right with God ourselves. But don’t worry, someone else has already sorted your sin problem, and that’s Jesus. When he died he took your sins upon himself and suffered and died for them. The Son of God died for you.(3) Your response is simply to believe in this truth, to acknowledge that Jesus died for you, to accept him as your Saviour, and to commit to living your life for him. Do that and you will no longer be separated from God, not now, not ever.
(1) Genesis 4:8
(2) Romans 5:12
(3) 1 Corinthians 15:3