When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(From the Daily Office Lectionary – Romans 6:20-23 – July 2, 2012)
I am still thinking of my Sunday sermon from yesterday’s Revised Common Lectionary lessons. We had chosen to follow “track 2” of the Lectionary and so read from the Book of Wisdom: “God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living . . . . but through the devil’s envy death entered the world.” (Wis. 1:13,2:24) Paul seems to be drawing on exactly the same thought: life is the gift of God, death is the result of the things of sin. As I said yesterday, God is not in the business of death. ~ So why is it that in our modern society the most publicly zealous followers of Jesus, a certain segment of American evangelical Christians, seem to embrace a culture of death? Why do they support capital punishment, get behind exporting war into other countries, applaud when abortion clinics are bombed, and defend our government when intelligence services or military engage in “water-boarding” to gather information? As a political comedian and comentator who also happens to be a Catholic Christian notes, only in America “can you be pro-war, pro-torture, pro-death penalty, pro-land mines, pro-unmanned drones and still call yourself ‘pro-life’.” Well, really, one can’t. Those things aren’t “pro-life” and it’s just hypocrisy to claim that title while promoting a culture of death, a culture that is the result of sin, that is the outcome of the devil’s envy. None of those things are “pro-life” and (in my theological opinion) none can be reconciled with Christian faith. “God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living.” Neither should God’s people.
(Note: The accompanying photograph is from Dazzling Design, to which the photograph links. There are some very creative photo images to be found there.)