I love it when General Revelation illustrates Special Revelation. Last summer I saw how weeds paralleled sin in my life. I used this illustration in a sermon on Romans 8:12-16 I called Stupid Weeds
. Yesterday while Laura and I were picking up leaves we once again thought to sin in our lives. Just like weeds, we also hate leaves once they leave the tree. It’s given me some deep social ethics to ponder. Such as: am I responsible for picking up all the leaves from our tree or just picking up the leaves in our yard? We have a big tree of unknown type in our front yard. It is the first to lose its leaves every year. They turn yellow, they fall and our yard looks like it is covered in golden snow. Then the wind blows, my bright yellow leaves are three houses down and since only our tree is shedding there is no doubt to whom these leaves belong. Am I to go three doors down to collect my tree’s leaves? I’ll leave you to ponder the answer to that. Our thoughts on leaves was in regard to sanctification. We know God desires that we be sanctified, which means, “to make holy.” We see that in 1 Thessalonians 4:3–5,
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;”
God desires that we be sanctified. God gives the victory in this battle; not our strength, but His. Anyway, as we raked Laura was frustrated that there were still leaves on the ground right where she had just raked. It was better, but it wasn’t perfect like she wished it was. Adding frustration to that was the continual falling of new leaves. It made the battle seem endless.
All illustrations (aside from those in Bible) breakdown and have their short comings, this one is no exception. What we did see is this:
Daily: Our battle with sin never ends, it keeps showing up, right after we battle/rake one area it comes again and we must rake/battle again. We must battle sin in our life daily.
Imperfect: Our sanctification is not perfect, it won’t be perfect until Christ returns (Spring?). As soon as we rake we see that the rake missed smaller leaves. But it’s better, the battle keeps the leaves from overtaking our yard. We can see our grass again.
Fight Now: The longer we wait to rake, the more our leaves affect those around us. Even those three doors down from us, our leaves become their leaves.
Public vs Private: This morning at breakfast a student asked if we had raked the backyard yet. We hadn’t and it was then that we realized that we raked the front yard because it was public. The neighbors see our front yard. Sin can be like that, we will battle public sin, sin that is observable by others, with greater priority than sin that can be hidden in the backyard.
Community: It was much easier to pick up the leaves when Laura and I worked together towards that same goal. Two rakes, someone to hold the bag, etc. We battle sin better in community as well.
Bad Company: Unfortunately, Beckham and Berkley showed us that having people who had a different goal in mind made our fight more difficult. We would make piles, they would jump, swim, dig, throw and skatter piles. “Bad company corrupts good morals,” 1 Corinthians 15:33.
Just a few thoughts, obviously the illustration breaks down because we power the rake and in sanctification the power is superior, it is gospel applied by the Holy Spirit. This image does gives me a desire and a hope to that day when we will dwell in glorified bodies that no longer sin. When the “not yet” becomes “now.”
Below are a few attempts at artsy pictures of our yard.