This past spring I was out for one of my regular bike rides when I noticed that one of the lawns in my neighborhood was sprinkled with fallen leaves. It caught my attention because that’s the kind of thing you expect to see in the fall, not in the spring.
Then I remembered reading many years ago that oak tree leaves are so firmly attached that they not only fail to fall off in autumn, they can even weather the ice, wind, and snow storms that ravage them throughout winter. It’s only when other deciduous trees begin to rise from their seasonal death in springtime, and buds start to appear on their branches, that the new life of those buds on oak trees cause those old dead leaves to lose their stubborn grip and fall to the earth.
What an illustration of how our Apostle Paul tells us to deal with sin! The way to “put off the old man with his deeds” is to “put on the new man” (Col. 3:9,10). In fact, the only way to obey Paul’s command to be “putting away lying” is to “speak every man truth” (Eph. 4:25). In the same way, a thief is powerless to “steal no more” unless he begins to “labour, working with his hands” to “give” to others (v. 28) instead of taking from them. Nothing but “edifying” speech can rid your life of “corrupt communication” (v. 29), and only being “kind one to another” and “forgiving one another” can oust “bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking” and “malice” from your life (vv. 31,32).
Berean Bible Society founder Pastor C. R. Stam used to love to quote this variation of a stanza that is often attributed to John Bunyan:
“Do this and live,” the law commands,
But gives me neither feet nor hands.
A better word the gospel brings.
It bids me fly, and gives me wings.
So let the resurrection life of godliness begin to bud in your life, and you’ll find it much easier to drop those leaves of sin. After all, even if a thief did manage to stop stealing without getting a job, he’d be nothing more than an unemployed thief. That’s a backsliding relapse just waiting to happen. So don’t just put your old man out of business. Put your new man to work!
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.