I Got a Fever and the Only Prescription is More Christ.

feverRecently my wife and I were planning to attend a family weekend at her parents’ lake cabin. My two children were excited to play in the lake, roast marshmallows and sleep in a tent. The night before we were to leave I noticed that my son felt a bit warm.  We took his temperature and sure enough it was high. It wasn’t long before he looked pale, wouldn’t eat anything, and would only sit on the couch watching television. His sister would come down with the same thing a few days later. You always hear parents say there is nothing worse than when your children are sick. Watching them with the stomach flu, a cold, a fever, or God forbid something very serious can challenge us as parents and can challenge our faith. Parents truly shine and display the real meaning of the parenting vocation when they are taking care of their sick children. While my children were sick I couldn’t help but think of the time and effort I put into their care. Worrying about every cough, every drink of water they would take, and every degree their temperature would rise. It made me realize how lacking my care for them was in their most serious condition. The condition they inherited from me which I inherited from Adam; that this world can never heal. There isn’t a doctor on earth who can help us with the chronic sickness of sin.

To be sure, God has given us all great healing through the work of doctors and medicine. These are just temporary fixes to the disease of sin that slowly and sometimes quickly kills us. It is our condition, our lot in life…we are dying. Sin caused that pimple on your face, the arthritis in your hand, the cholesterol in your blood, cancer, suicide, abortion…the list goes on and on. Sin sucks; the pain and suffering we endure in this world is hard to handle.  I have never been a “pull yourself up by your boot straps and get it done” kind of guy when it comes to sin. When I think about sin and what it does to us, I think it’s ridiculous how much people deny it and try to fight against it. It may be very unloving of me to chalk everything up to sin but there is no other way to explain the abundant amount of crap that goes on in the world today. Everything is rooted in the fact that we are all sinners who deserve to die.  That includes everyone, even our children. As a parent that’s tough to handle.  My children can be little hellions at times, but do they deserve to die? The answer is yes, just like their dad deserves to die.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (NASB)

So as a father, what can I do to help my children in battling the sin they will carry with them their whole life? First, I need to understand that I can’t do anything to help them.  On top of that, my own sin only makes things worse. Most nights I’d rather go to bed early then kneel down and pray with my children. I battle with bouts of self-righteousness because we get them to church and Sunday school. Christian parents need to understand that it is always God who does the work. It’s His work in baptism. It’s His work in the forgiveness of sins. It’s His true body and blood in the Sacrament of the Altar. When trouble and pain comes in this life, parents must always turn their children to the cross of Jesus Christ.  God knows our sin, He knows our struggles, and He loved us so much that He provided an answer to them all. The grace of God comes to us through faith in Jesus Christ. Sin and death were defeated at the cross. Repent and hear the Gospel. The world can keep its prescriptions; as they will fade away. The cure has already been found in Jesus Christ.







I Got a Fever and the Only Prescription is More Christ. — 11 Comments

  1. I find your article somewhat confusing. You talk a lot about how we are all burdened with sin and deserve to die, but then you tell us that “Sin and death were defeated at the cross”. So which is it – are we surrounded by sin, or has it been defeated?

    I would also like to know exactly whose sins I am supposedly burdened with. I don’t consider myself a sinful person, and I most certainly do not feel guilty for the sins of Adam (whoever he was, or was not).

    Thank you.

    Barry Jones

  2. @Barry Jones #1
    Your confusion is well warranted, Barry. Not that Nathan’s post is wrong, it’s not. But your confusion is well warranted because you’re right, we don’t feel guilty about our sin. We Christians – most of us – don’t walk around feeling particularly guilty about anything. We sometimes feel guilty about things, but sometimes it was even the right thing to do, yet we feel guilty that it may have hurt someone or caused some trouble for ourselves or others. And then there’s associated guilt when we’ve done nothing wrong but feel like we have (like when a person is raped and has feelings of guilt).

    But then guilt isn’t really a feeling, it’s a state of being. Many criminals don’t feel guilty for their crimes, but they are indeed guilty. Guilt isn’t the best litmus test for sin. However, death is.

    The bare fact is that we are all going to die one day. And contrary to society’s cries to the contrary, death is not a natural part of life. It’s the antithesis of life. That’s why we fight so hard to postpone it and fight it with things like cosmetics, drugs, exercise, etc. We even dress up our dead as if they are living, and say things like, “She looks just like she did in life.” No she doesn’t. She’s dead. If it’s just a part of life, why do we humans detest it and strive against it so much and need such comfort when the Grim Reaper comes calling?

    The Church’s goal – Christ’s goal – is not to make you feel guilty about sin (despite the way many, many denominations and preachers preach and teach). Her goal – His goal – is to give you life even in the clutches of death. Her goal is to give you life even though your are guilty – feeling or no – of sin, which deserves death. This is what Nathan means by taking away our sin (and there are other ways to say it).

    So the Church doesn’t really care if you feel guilty about your sin (well, the Roman Catholics might), what the Church cares about – what Christ cares about – is that you cling to the only one who has overcome death: Jesus of Nazareth. Why cling to Him, trusting in His resurrection and promise of life? So you will live! Immortality is the goal, not guilt-free living. That’s just a nice byproduct (to be crass about it).

    The promise He gives you is that even though you die, yet shall you live! He is humanity’s answer to death. He lives. And because He lives, so shall you.

    For this, for His promise of life and the removal of that which causes death – sin- we thank and praise, serve and obey Him. We attend His gathering, hear His promises (His word), and are washed with His bath, marking us as those who have died with Him and now live with and by Him. We receive the sign of the cross upon our foreheads and hearts to mark us as property of Jesus (Galatians 6:17), who doesn’t rule with terror and threat, but by mercy and grace, promising life to His people. So when death comes, it is but a sleep from which we shall be awakened, being free from the guilt of sin.

  3. @Barry Jones #1


    Out of interest, what prompted you to post your points here and how did you come upon the original post to read it?

    I see that you identify yourself as an atheist. I was an atheist for 18 years. I was also a member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, so I suppose that made me a “Evangelical Atheist” since I worked hard at ridding public places of Christian “paraphernalia” and I also worked at deconverting Christians.

    Pastor Lovett did an excellent job of answering your questions, but I would like to answer them from a different perspective, so-to-speak. I would like to tackle them as one who knows what it is like to think like an atheist.

    You write, “I don’t consider myself a sinful person, and I most certainly do not feel guilty for the sins of Adam.” I would have been surprised if you did admit to feeling guilty “for sins” of any sort, since you would be presupposing that sin is a reality in some sense; even if it were just a mental state of the deluded. I think this point actually gets to your questioning in the first paragraph of your posting. Namely, Nathan is writing about those who are not just guilty of sin (we all are, including you), but are also feeling the weight of their sins, which some call “being convicted of their sins.” However, one need not be a Christian to feel the weight of their own wrongdoings. Indeed, the self-help industry, pharmaceutical companies, and psychology, are billion dollar industries because they assist people with their struggles of feeling guilt. Another way to get at this point is to ask you, do you ever feel bad about doing something? That is, are you aware when you have wronged someone in someway and you struggle with it? I should think so, because atheists aren’t necessarily sociopaths! Just being an atheist doesn’t mean one doesn’t believe murder is wrong. Do you agree?

    One other point… you write,

    “You talk a lot about how we are all burdened with sin and deserve to die, but then you tell us that “Sin and death were defeated at the cross”. So which is it – are we surrounded by sin, or has it been defeated?”

    Sin most certainly has been defeated, but that doesn’t mean sin ceases to exist in the world. I suppose we could get at the underlying argument you are raising and that is the problem of evil, but before I go that direction I want to confirm if that is what you have in mind with your question?



  4. You may very well be setting the stage for the future destruction of your relationships with your children. If your kids accept your beliefs as adults, you may dodge this bullet. If they don’t, however, you will forever view them with pity and condemnation, and they will view you as somebody who values a delusional deity more than his own flesh and blood. They will have as little to do with you as possible. How does that sound as a way to spend your old age?

    This isn’t a rare occurence. You will find the laments of the children and the parents on countless internet forums. I find it unbearably sad to watch wonderful, good-hearted children become estranged from their parents over what I consider to be nothing at all. The fault for these situations lies entirely with people like you who value only children who think like them.

    The solution is for you to follow your own heart regarding your faith, expect them to follow theirs, and to love them regardless. Not that phony Christian “love the sinner hate the sin” kind of love. Real, happy, warm, human love that celebrates people as they are. In other words, pretty much the opposite of what your’e selling here.

  5. Charles:

    There is no such thing as real, happy, warm, human love that celebrates people as they are. If that was the case there’d be no such thing as AA, Gambler’s Anonymous, Sex Addicts anonymous, drug abuse centers or to take it to the furthest extreme, the criminal justice system would be completely non-existent. This way we’d be celebrating all people as they are.

  6. Charles :
    The solution is for you to follow your own heart regarding your faith, expect them to follow theirs, and to love them regardless.

    I believe you are partly correct in that we should love our children “regardless,” but your overall idea that parents should not expect their children to follow the way they have been raised is just not good. Parents ought to rear their children in the faith they confess. Even an atheist professes a set of principles or beliefs (such as your assertion, “The solution is….”) they teach their own children with the desire that their children will follow their instruction. So, are we to conclude that any and all parents who teach their children a set of principles or beliefs that they should live by, “…may very well be setting the stage for the future destruction of your relationships with your children”? Is that a good enough reason not to teach our children? I think not.

  7. @ Mark Lovett #2
    Mark, I agree with your notion of guilt as a state of being. One can indeed be guilty (according to some external defined criteria) and not feel guilty, and conversely one can have done nothing wrong yet feel guilty.
    But I completely reject your views of sin and death. Sin does not cause death. Death is caused by natural biological processes that cause the body to deteriorate and eventually stop working. Everyone on this earth will die – are you saying that every single person is a sinner? What exactly constitutes “sin” in this context? Is even the tiniest sin – one little sin during the whole of one’s lifetime – punishable by death?
    On the subject of death, I do not fear death one little bit (although I will admit to some concern over the MANNER of my eventual death!). I was “dead” for millions of years before I was born, and that did not concern me in the slightest. When I die I will return to the same state and become stardust once again, and know and care nothing about it.
    You will know that as an atheist I reject the entire concept of everlasting life after death. My philosophy is to enjoy my one and only life to the full, and make the best of it for myself, my family and my fellow man. Then I will die. In fact, I view the idea of everlasting obedience and subservience to a jealous and temperamental God quite unappealing. What would one do every day for the rest of eternity? I’d rather be dead.

    @Tim Pierce #3
    Tim, I came to this blog via a link in a comment in a thread on the Pharyngula blog run by PZ Myers.
    I must say that it pains me to hear that you have stepped back from the light and back into the oppressive shadow of religion. I hope it’s not too late for you to be saved again.
    Yes of course, like most other people I have done wrong from time to time. When I do, I try to make amends if I can, and try generally to do the right thing, according to my own internal sense of right and wrong. All “normal” people have a sense of right and wrong – such a sense is essential for any successful society to function. But this is a naturally evolving sense – it does not require religion, the Bible of any godly commandments. Something akin to the famous Golden Rule (which incidentally is not a Biblical invention – it was well known in many ancient civilisations that pre-date Christianity) is all that is necessary.
    You ask what is my underlying question. It is simply that I do not understand what any of you mean when you say that “sin has been defeated”.

  8. @Barry Jones #7
    Yes, every person is a sinner in the same manner that every person born in the US is a US citizen, just as a baby born to a mother with AIDS also has AIDS. Sin is in an inherited condition, not an action or inaction. But that’s not the point. Just as the Church is not overly concerned about whether or not you feel guilty over sin, neither is she overly concerned that you believe that you’re a sinner. This isn’t her goal. (Again, despite what you may hear from many, many denominations and preachers.) No, confessing you’re a sinner isn’t the point.

    Now you will most likely say that you hear that sin is an action or lack of action, but that’s really shorthand. Sin isn’t what we do or don’t do anymore than being male or female is what we do or don’t do. But there are feminine actions and masculine actions, so there are actions (and inaction) that are of sin or sinful, such as murder, hate, envy, and so forth.
    You’re not a bad guy, I get it. You try to make up for the wrong you do, great. You should. But none of this is the point. Not sinning is NOT the point. Being holy is NOT the point.
    So what is the point? The point is that there was this man, Jesus of Nazareth, who suffered under the Roman pontiff, Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. Only He didn’t stay dead. He rose from the dead. He lives.

    If man began in a cave so many millenniums ago, so man was reborn in a cave outside of Bethlehem.

    Now you can deny this, you can poo-poo it as religious mythology. But what you can’t do is avoid the fact that this singular proposition, if you’re honest, haunts you. Not terribly. Not like a ghoul. But like a incessant whisper that won’t stop. Jesus is risen from the dead. I don’t have to prove it, your own DNA proves it. You may not fear the state of death, but you are afraid – as your comment shows – of dying. Dying is hell. The state of death should not be feared. It is, as you say, nothing. Who cares about being dead? But who doesn’t care about dying?

    When you breathe your last, you will be dead. But right now you are dying. Slowly, even painlessly by and large. But death looms large. And you yearn for life, as do we all. Not even when our loved ones are suffering do we want them to die. We say it’s better that they’re gone, but what we mean is that they are not suffering. It is not being dead that we fear, it is dying. So we pray (to whom, I wonder?) that we should die in our sleep so that our dying will be as gentle as possible. Truly a prayer: Lord, have mercy.

    But there is an answer to suffering; to dying. The answer is the Christ who also suffered and died by His dying. But He lives. And this, above all, is what we yearn for.

    Now you say you’d rather not live forever. That’s not true, just as it’s not true that you don’t fear dying (though you may well not fear being dead). What you’d rather not do is live forever in a pointless rotation of meaningless, spirit-clad whatever that is so often painted by many preachers and Christian pomp. But life after the resurrection isn’t meaningless, but is life, the life you yearn for when you watch a beautiful sunset or hold your girl or enjoy a friend. If we are sad that these conclude and are ripped from us in death, then we are anxious that they be restored to us by the author of life.

    Jesus is risen, and because He is risen from the dead, to be dying no more, so shall you rise.

  9. @Barry Jones #7


    Thanks for your reply. You write, “I must say that it pains me to hear that you have stepped back from the light and back into the oppressive shadow of religion. I hope it’s not too late for you to be saved again.”

    Ha! I knew you wouldn’t let me down! 🙂

    Moving on to the more serious matter…. Yes, we agree that most (I argue ‘all’) people “have done wrong from time to time” and the whole point of that is there exists a moral scale of sorts against which we judge our actions. The nature of that moral scale could be debated, but I think most atheists would not have a problem admitting such a scale.

    I see where you assert that this moral scale is a product of evolution, i.e. “But this is a naturally evolving sense – it does not require religion, the Bible of any godly commandments.” Even while I was an atheist I was not convinced that a moral scale could be “a product of evolution,” since the largest hurdle to overcome in that argument is to provide a reasonable explanation as to why morals are a unique characteristic of humans which affords them an evolutionary ‘leg up’ over the competition in the survival game. If anything, the stronger argument, I think, is that morals would be an impediment to gaining the position of ‘fittest.’ For example, not murdering doesn’t seem to be an issue with other animals. The animal kingdom is one of kill and be killed with no laws other than survive. So how are moral laws such as “don’t murder” or “don’t steal” explained as an “evolutionary sense?” How does it provide an advantage to the survival of our species? I don’t believe you can get a good answer from evolution to those questions.

    What is meant when we say “sin is defeated”? Very simply it means that ultimately sin and death has no hold or claim over the Christian and that is because Christ has risen from the dead defeating both. As a Christian I know that when I do eventually die, I will be raised from the dead to be with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Does that answer your question? I see Pastor Lovett gives a great answer to this question in his post above mine. So I will not belabor the point unless I have missed something.


  10. @Charles #4

    I would not pity or condemn my children from falling away from the faith. That would not be very loving of me as their father. I would however continue to speak the truth to them about Christ. Their belief or unbelief has no bearing on my love for them. It would however have a bearing on their salvation, which honestly is my main concern.

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