[This post was written by my fellow pastor, Bob Mundorff (pictured above). And yes, he is a redneck. But I’m a nerd, so we make a good team.]
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you…
Even born-again, Spirit-led, regenerate, new creation Christians have some earthiness left in them. Paul refers to it as “what is earthly in you”. James calls this “desire” that entices and lures us away. Peter calls it “passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul”.
One warm summer evening a few years ago, some friends joined us for a picnic which included an unusual entree… grilled rattlesnake. I remember my grandfather saying that “a snake won’t die ‘till the sun goes down.” In my harvest and preparation of this particular rattler, I found some truth in that old saying. More importantly, I found a great illustration for remaining sin in the life of a Christian.
After lopping his head off with my tree pruners, and bringing him home in an old pillowcase, he just wouldn’t stop squirming enough for me to skin him. So utilizing a little redneck ingenuity, I stretched him out and wood-clamped him to the porchrail. Once I got his skin off and entrails
out, all I had left was a muscle-covered ribcage. Somehow, the instant I freed him from the clamps, it was like he still had a brain even though his head was long gone. He tried to strike me over and over with his bloody little neck-stub.
We fought until I got him into the pot of boiling water I had waiting for him, which by the way, was on my grill (for some reason Jane insisted I do this outside). After forcing him against his will into the pot, I thought the nightmare would be over. But I was wrong. As soon as I turned, “bang” – off goes the lid, and out flies Mr. Snake carcass, squirming across the ground. …It took several minutes after getting him back into the boiling water for this thing to actually stop moving!
That dead snake who acted like he was still alive gives us a good picture of remaining sin in our lives. At the cross, Jesus lopped off the head of sin. Its penalty has been paid (Gal. 3:13). Its power is has been brought to nothing (Rom. 6:6). But that scary, hard to kill carcass of sin’s presence will plague us until heaven. Thanks to Jesus, sinful desires and earthly passions have lost their power over you. Like the rattlesnake, all they can do is neck-stub you. Put to death what is earthly in you! Don’t believe Satan’s lies anymore. Sin will have no dominion over you! God wants you to know the truth that will set you free (John 8:32; Rom. 6:7).