For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
— Romans 5:17
We don’t think about it, at least not in the light I hope to turn on today, but all humankind is on the run, fugitives from the inescapable hands of death. Like the bad man in the old west, riding hard to outrun the posse and escape the gallows, no one wants to die. But according to scripture, death catches up to everyone. When Adam chose to buy into Satan’s lie, opting out of God’s plan, he removed himself and the whole of mankind from God’s supernatural protection, sending every living creature crashing into death and decay.
“By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread,” God told Adam, “till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
— Genesis 3:19
Some 6,000 years later, God reaffirmed the reality of death saying through the author of Hebrews:
it is appointed unto men once to die, and after that comes judgment.
— Hebrews 9:25
No, the closing chapter in humanity’s story doesn’t end well, does it? Not at all the ending episode we would like it to be. But in Christ, a new story is being told in the life of every believer.
In Adam, we are all sinners, estranged from God and without hope. There is no inclination towards godliness in us, no appetite for holiness, no want for righteousness, no desire to please or glorify anyone but self. “Setting our minds on things that are above” (as we are told in Colossians 3:2) doesn’t enter our minds, because we have no mind for such things. Apart from knowing and walking alongside Jesus, clothed in his righteousness, the road we travel has an extremely grim end — and a good reason to run. But a far better, happily-ever-after ending can be yours today. You can stop running and take refuge in Jesus. And why not? You won’t be able to outrun God anyway.
The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
— Romans 10:8–9