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The Road that Leads to Death

• Greg Boyd

This morning Greg preached about four steps that characterize the road to spiritual death. He emphasized that spiritual formation happens regardless of whether or not a person is intentional. Thus, we can become increasingly formed into the likeness of Christ through our participation in the divine nature (see 2 Peter 1:4), or we can turn away from God. This morning Greg focused on the latter. What typifies the road to spiritual death?

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This morning Greg preached about four steps that characterize the road to spiritual death. He emphasized that spiritual formation happens regardless of whether or not a person is intentional. Thus, we can become increasingly formed into the likeness of Christ through our participation in the divine nature (see 2 Peter 1:4), or we can turn away from God. This morning Greg focused on the latter. What typifies the road to spiritual death?

First, it involves shutting God out. Psalm 111:10 states that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” Instead of acknowledging the awesome wonder and mystery that characterizes the Creator of the world, we choose instead to be the lord of our life. We attempt to play God with our pronouncements of judgment upon people when in fact God is the only one qualified for such a task.

Idolatry is the second characteristic that describes the road to spiritual death. We find our worth from temporal and perishable things rather than from our relationship with Jesus Christ. Greg preached that in today’s culture, common idolatries are those that feed off sensual experiences, such as sex and violence. People want to feel alive, and these emotive occurrences provide that experience. However, the feeling never lasts and never fully satisfies. There can also be religious idols that stifle a person’s spiritual formation. Usually these take two forms: 1. Believing that our works secure our salvation, and 2. Standing in judgment over those that we deem “less” spiritual or “more” sinful. We must keep in mind that Jesus’ harshest words were for those who outwardly seemed to be the most spiritual (see Matthew 23:1-36).

Third, futile thinking marks the road that leads to death. Proverbs 14:12 reads, “There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death.” This involves creating a worldview and/or philosophy that is congruent with our sin rather than with the reality of truth. In such a person, a hardness of heart occurs where he or she becomes desensitized to the sin in his or her life (see Ephesians 4:17-19).

The final characteristic is simply death. The Bible calls this hell. Biblical scholars argue over whether hell speaks primarily of eternal death, corruption, or perishing. However, what the different perspectives of hell have in common is that finality and horror characterize it. What could be more terrifying than life without God?

Greg closed by saying that now is the day of salvation (see 2 Cor. 6:1-2). With each passing day, our character becomes increasingly solidified. We must not harden our hearts. Instead, we must honestly submit ourselves to God.

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Focus Scripture:

  • Proverbs 14:12

    12 There is a way that appears to be right,
    but in the end it leads to death.

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