We visited two repair shops today. The first one was in Kempton Park. The purpose of this visit was to have a belt fitted to our bread making machine. In one part of the workshop, I saw hundreds of items that were returned under guarantee and needed to be shipped back to the manufacturer. These items included kettles, food mixers, coffee grinders, toasters, irons, electric frying pans, chain saws, generators, etc. In speaking to the technician, he said many of the items to be returned were brand new … there were a few scratches on some of them and the purchaser rejected the item, bringing it back for replacement.
The second repair shop we went to is in Randburg. We have a food mixer that has not been used for many years. I could not get the machine to switch on and I could not fit the many pieces together. So, my intent was they test the machine and help me fit the “puzzle pieces” together. The machine was tested and does work … but the “puzzle pieces” could not fit together. Eventually, the technician found that two parts were missing. The one is a blade cutter. I think this is in my shed, but the shaft that makes almost all the parts work in their various sets is nowhere to be found. They checked on their system and found the part needed but have none in stock and … this part is obsolete! The bread making machine is repaired and we can’t wait to use it, but the food mixer is unserviceable and about to be dumped.
When we are born, we are spiritually dysfunctional. We are bent on rebellion against God, whether we are aware of it or not. At the same time, we are not born with a physical body. There are defects from the start. Some defects are terminal from the start, some take their time to develop. As we grow and develop, we find our ways to the dentist, optician, medical doctor and pharmacy. Sometimes, we need specialized attention such as operations on various parts of the body. There are times we damage ourselves, breaking a leg or arm. Sometimes we need replacement parts such as false teeth, glasses, hearing aids and hip, shoulder or knee replacements. Many have heart, kidney or other organ replacements.
Our bread maker machine could be repaired and restored to full operation. The sad story is that there are times when our bodies cannot be repaired. This could range from babies through to elderly people. Although we are born and start dying immediately, the normal length of life nowadays could be from 70 through to 90 years old with all the help we have at our disposal. We had a granddaughter who was born with a terminal virus. Although our children gave her the best care possible, she lived for 7 months and 7 days. My mom lived to 97 years. But, like them, we too will die. At times, the medics can extend our lives, but eventually, when we reach the age God has determined for us, we die. The body is then unserviceable … the body is then obsolete. This is the story of every life born. However, there is a spiritual side to man. God made us different to other animals. We are born and our spiritual dimension, the soul, is designed by God to live forever. Whether the body dies at 7 months or 97 years, the soul lives forever. Christians believe that those who die in Christ are with Christ forever. Further, we believe that children born to believers, should they die before they can believe, are sanctified by their parents’ faith.
Now once we are born, there is natural human rebellion against God. We grow up like this. We mostly resist the call of the Gospel. We sin … we damage ourselves before God. We tend to go from bad to worse. When we speak about total depravity, we are saying that every aspect of our being has been affected by sin. Our minds, thoughts, desires and attitudes are affected by sin. Our eyes, ears, mouths, feelings, actions and even our sense of smell fall under the scope of total depravity. Unlike the bread maker machine that can be repaired–parts can be replaced to make it work again–our souls do not have various parts that can be exchanged. Yes, the body can be repaired, but not the soul … and even if the body is failing, the soul continues … whether spiritually dysfunctional or spiritually intact with God. There are no spare parts for the soul. Often, the Bible talks about the soul as the heart … and immediately after the Flood when Noah made a sacrifice, we read:
Ge 8:20 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. 21 The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.”
This heart or soul of man needs something that man cannot get done for himself through the help of any man. He needs God to do the work of repairing the heart/soul! Through Jesus’ sacrifice, we might be made new as we exercise faith in the finished work at Calvary. This is where the terms “Redemption, Salvation, New Birth, Born Again” come from. The Bible is very clear about the soul. The soul is never obsolete:
2Co 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
See that? God does not fit new parts to the soul. He takes the soul, cleanses it in the Blood of the Lord Jesus and makes it totally new. You are a new creation! Now the terms Born Again or New Birth start to make sense. The body might be aging and becoming frail … even dying … but the soul, once saved by grace, is new … regenerate and gloriously beautiful in God’s sight. Note, the old has gone. The life of sin has been forgiven, the sin washed away, never to be counted against you. In Christ you are a new creation!
Dear God, thank you for making me new. Thank you for taking away all the filth and sin of the old man and redeeming and cleansing my soul. Thank you for a new and living way that leads all the way to Glory. Amen.