His Work of Beauty

Clearing vines and plants that had taken over a fence for an elderly Christian woman.

While clearing the plants from out of the fence, we found it was also holding roses. The roses remind me of a few things. One of those is the affliction in our lives that is a result of sin. The thorn represents sin, or our fallen nature; when Adam transgressed against God’s commandment in Genesis, the earth became cursed. One of the consequences was thorns would now grow:

"And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field." [Gen 3:17-18]

And because we are subjected to the curse, we each are under sin; for Paul writes, “as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Though Jesus Christ liberates us from the bondage of sin, saying, “if the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed;” and again, “where the Spirit of The Lord is, there is liberty;” and again, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death,” [Rom 8:2] we still remain in fallen bodies, in bodies touched by sin. Paul speaks of this as well in Romans, saying,

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." [Rom 8:18-23]

The Holy Spirit, through Paul, shows us that we are subjected to the vanity of these fallen bodies, but not to no avail; for we will one day be “delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” One day soon, we will receive new bodies which are completely freed from sin, “for this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” And when that glorious day is fulfilled, “then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, death is swallowed up in victory.”

Our bodies here on earth still contain “thorns” as it were. Though we are freed from the bondage of sin, we often error and fall into sin. We can surely relate to Paul, who said,

"I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man; but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" [Rom 7:21-24]

But let us remember that Jesus came to “save His people from their sins,” let us “hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.” [Psa 130:7-8] So while we are yet in these bodies, we need not wallow in despair, for Jesus our Christ has saved us from sin, taking upon Him the punishment for them, and from these bodies, giving us a sure promise and hope for future redemption of them. Let us not focus on the thorns, but on the flower, on the beauty that Jesus is creating in each of us day by day. Let us follow the faith of Abraham, who “being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead…” and who “staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.” [Rom 4:19-20]

Abraham did not look at his old body and scoff at God’s promise. Rather, Abraham believed God and gave Him glory. Let us do the same: not dwelling on the thorns of our fallen bodies, but thanking and praising God for His promise of sanctification through The Holy Spirit day-by-day and for His promise of a complete restoration yet future.

Post: Refusing to be Bound

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