“Bad Perms and Other thoughts on Life”

My wife has just headed out the door to a hair salon to see if they can do something with her hair. As she left, I cautioned her, “Don’t do anything that can not be fixed if it turns out wrong.” She looked as innocent as she could and said, “What…?” I tried not to roll my eyes (and I may not have been successful). A few weeks ago she “got a perm” as women say. Reed would (could) not look at her. Caleb asked, “What are the people at church going to think?” When asked what I thought, I responded as a husband with many years experience, “My! You had your hair done!”

All of us make choices with which we have to live. Sometimes our bad choices result in temporary inconveniences which have little lingering effects (such as a bad perm). Other bad choices will follow us for the rest of our lives. Paul gives us a long list of things that will bring nothing but heartache into our lives, and the lives of the people around us:

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

Sadly, this is the default setting of all humankind as we enter into the world. We are born sinners. We are not sinners because we sin, but we sin because we are sinners. It is at the root of all that we are. We may live this life of sin brazenly, or we may live this life of sin quietly (even internally), but we will “follow our heart” which the Bible says is “deceitful above all things.” Thankfully, God sent One into the world who was not born a sinner, and He did what we could never do: He kept God’s Law. The Westminster Confession of Faith describes His work in the following way:

This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake, which, that he might discharge, he was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfill it; endured most grievous torments immediately in his soul, and most painful sufferings in his body; was crucified and died; was buried, and remained under the power of death, yet saw no corruption. On the third day he arose from the dead, with the same body in which he suffered; with which also he ascended into heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of his Father, making intercession; and shall return to judge men and angels, at the end of the world.(VIII.iv)

It goes on to describe the result of Christ’s work:

To all those for whom Christ hath purchased redemption, he doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same; making intercession for them, and revealing unto them, in and by the Word, the mysteries of salvation; effectually persuading them by his Spirit to believe and obey; and governing their hearts by his Word and Spirit; overcoming all their enemies by his almighty power and wisdom, in such manner and ways as are most consonant to his wonderful and unsearchable dispensation.(VIII.viii)

Thus, through what Christ did through His obedient life and sacrificial death, sinners’ sins need not follow them into eternity, because they have an Advocate who paid the penalty for their sins, and imputed much needed righteousness into their spiritual account. And, all of this is ours, not through our efforts, but by God’s grace, and through faith in the only Mediator between God and man, the Lord Jesus Christ. So, today I am resting. I am resting in the work that Christ did on my behalf, forever grateful that my bad choices will not follow me into the age to come.

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