A woman took her husband to the doctor’s office. After the exam, the doctor told her, “Your husband is suffering from a very serious infection.” The husband, who was hard of hearing, asked, “What did he say?” His wife said, “He says you’re sick.” The doctor went on. “But there is hope. You just need to reduce his stress. Each morning, give him a healthy breakfast. Be pleasant, nice, and kind. For lunch and dinner, make his favorite meals. Don’t discuss your problems with him; it will only make his stress level worse. Don’t yell at him or argue with him. And most importantly, cater to your husband’s every whim. If you can do this for your husband for the next 6-12 months, I think he will have a complete recovery.” When the husband asked again, “What did he say?” his wife replied, “He says you’re going to die.”
I remember learning about Adam and Eve when I was very young. One thing that always bothered me was that they blew it for the rest of us. I remember thinking that if only they hadn’t sinned, we wouldn’t have to worry about mosquitoes or wasps or other insects that make such nuisances of themselves.
Adam and Eve sinned when they chose to do what they wanted instead of what God wanted; they disobeyed. As a result, sin has been passed down to all their descendents. From Adam and Eve (our first parents), we have received an inheritance, but it is not money—it is sin. And because of Adam and Eve’s sin, we are born with the inclination to sin, rather than wanting to follow God’s leading.
When you go to the doctor and he gives you a diagnosis, you are certain to have many questions. Is my condition serious? What is the treatment? If the diagnosis is serious, you might ask, “Doctor, how much longer can I expect to live?”
Now suppose I told you that you have a fatal infection. You would probably have some questions for the doctor. We will look to the Great Physician for answers.
I. WHO IS INFECTED?
We are all infected with the disease called sin. We got this infection simply by being born. I doubt that scientists will ever find a “sin” gene, but just as your hair and eye colors are inherited, you also inherit sin.
The bad news is that you can do absolutely nothing to help yourself. You can’t take penicillin or some other medicine to get rid of this infection. You can’t go to a surgeon and have him cut out the infection. As Paul says, “Consequently, the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men” (Rom. 5:18). You can’t live a holy life on your own.
If God is omniscient and knows all things, He knew that Satan would fall. He knew that Adam and Eve would sin and that as a result, all mankind who followed would be born with this infection. If God knew all of this, why did He create Adam and Eve?
Let me answer this question with another question to those of you who have children. When you had children, did you think they would be perfect, or did you realize that there would be times when they would disappoint you? Did you realize that your children would sometimes bring tears into your life? Did you realize they would bring you pain? Did you realize they would hurt you, that they would disobey you? If you realized all these things, why in the world did you have children? You hoped the good times would outweigh the bad. You hoped the joy would be greater than the pain, that the obedience would be greater than the disobedience.
II. IS THERE A CURE?
Is there a cure for this fatal infection, or are you doomed to die? You don’t have to die. There is a cure! There is a remedy! Romans 5:17 says, “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.”
Yes, there is a disease called sin. Yes, it is fatal. Yes, if left unchecked and untreated, this infection is terminal. But there is hope, and that hope is found in Jesus Christ. God can cleanse us from sin. He can change us from within. He can heal us from this infection. He can restore us to a great relationship with Him.
III. THE CURE
f God’s plan is for you to live a holy life free from sin, does that make you some kind of “super Christian”? Sometimes when we talk about holiness and sanctification, people get nervous.
Holiness isn’t an abstract concept. It isn’t a doctrine to be dissected in the laboratory. Holiness is simply a way of living made possible through an intimate and personal relationship with God. So when we talk about holiness, we aren’t talking about something that makes us holier than our friends. It isn’t something that makes us “super Christians.” It doesn’t change us into Christian robots incapable of doing wrong. We don’t possess holiness under our own power.
When Adam and Eve sinned, their sin was like a virus. It spread and caused a fatal infection. Sin infected their children and spread through the entire human race. We are all infected. But there is hope. There is a cure. And that cure is found in Jesus Christ. You can receive this abundant provision by God’s grace.
Ellen White says, “Let these words fill us with comfort and hope and peace. While you are worrying over the sins of others, Jesus says, ‘Turn your eyes away from these things and behold the Lamb of God that take away the sin of the world. There is a balm in Gilead; there is a Physician there. Jesus is the great physician, and He can cure all the maladies of the soul’” (Manuscript Releases, Vol. 12, 1990).
General Conference Ministerial Association