George Bowers Sr.: Law of Spirit can set us free from law of sin, death

George Bowers Sr.

The amazing complexities in God’s creation continue to baffle scientists who are constantly forced to change their theories because of new discoveries. Daily revelations on both the microscopic as well as the cosmic levels are rewriting science books and Wikipedia alike. Everywhere we look, we find incredible highly ordered structures and processes rather than randomness and chance.

One of those puzzling truths from nature that we’ve known for quite some time is the fact that many saltwater fish return to the stream of their birth, and some even to the precise riffle where they were spawned, to repeat the process. Although there are multiple theories as to their homing technique, the exact mechanism that enables such astonishing precision is yet unknown. Researchers often use the word “instinct” to describe highly complicated behaviors for which they have no explanation.

In the case of various species of Pacific salmon, the adult fish who left their birth streams several years earlier and matured in the vast expanses of ocean water, somehow navigate without map, compass, or GPS to find their way back to their birthplaces. Because these spawning migrations coincide with the time hungry grizzlies are coming out of hibernation, the privilege of passing on their DNA to another generation is in great jeopardy. Thankfully, enough individuals swim the gauntlet and survive to perpetuate their species. There’s even enough surplus for several eager fishermen to take home their share of the bounty as well.

Some shrewd and ingenious individual realized how to capitalize on the salmon’s amazing homing instincts and constructed a hatchery inside a cannery. As the young fish hatch in the building and are released into the wild, they are automatically preprogramed to return to the same location for their demise years later. When the returning adults arrive at the top of the cannery’s fish ladder, their eggs are harvested for future generations, after which the fish themselves are processed into delicious salmon cakes, filets, and sushi that are marketed all over the world. I wish I had thought of that.

This arrangement reminds me of our human bent toward sin. Even though we were originally created in the image of God, Adam forfeited at least a portion of this heritage and we have all been born inside sin’s cannery ever since. Because of this, our inclination to do wrong is not only strong, but inborn and dominant, and we will eventually follow it to certain destruction without even realizing it. If only there was some way to reprogram our homing instincts and our natural tendencies.

Praise God, there is! According to Romans 8:2, through Jesus Christ, the law of the Spirit of life can set us free from the law of sin and death and release us from sin’s dominating power. When we are born to new life in Jesus, the Holy Spirit cancels our previously encoded sinful desires as the old nature dies within us. The Spirit then rewrites our operating procedures and reorients our homing instincts. Instead of desires that are contrary to God’s will, the Spirit helps us to want those things that please him. Instead of swimming toward certain death and misery, he frees us to follow Jesus toward life and peace.

We are powerless to affect real and lasting positive change in and of ourselves as evidenced by our countless failed New Year’s Resolutions. Our inborn sinful natures coerce us to follow the streams of sin into which we were born. But when the Holy Spirit dwells within, he not only gives us godly desires, he also enables us to live them out. As you contemplate your natural inborn tendencies toward sin, invite God to do a work in you to eliminate your corrupted DNA. If you never have, ask him to save you today so that you may begin the renewal process. And if you already have, thank him that you won’t swim into eternal destruction at the end of your life’s fish ladder. Blessings, George

George Bowers Sr. is the senior pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock and the author of seven books, including his latest book of poetry, “Holy Verses.” He can be reached through www.georgebowersministries.com or at gabowers@shentel.net.