“Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life…”
(Revelation 2:10 ESV)
Yesterday I received a crown. Unfortunately it was not that longed-for crown promised to the faithful in Christ. Rather, it was a Dental Crown on a molar. I have a gracious and gentle dentist who treated me well, the pain hasn’t been too bad, and the crown will prevent the tooth from completely falling apart.
As I understand it, because that tooth had had such a deep cavity (which was filled about 15 years ago), the walls of the tooth were weakening. Over time, cracks in the tooth had formed, and it was really only a matter of time before the tooth broke. Crowning the tooth will improve the strength and appearance of the tooth, and will, prayerfully, improve overall dental health.
As I’ve thought about my tooth through the day, I see a powerful picture of our spiritual life in Christ (yes the novacane has worn off, just follow me a sec.).
Sin is like a cavity. It starts small, usually coming into your life in very tempting ways that bring quick gratification but result in lingering problems. If the sin is not stopped quickly, it will eat away at your life, creating further damage. Usually one sin leads to another, the decay goes straight to the heart, and the damage becomes so complete that our lives start to weaken and unravel. At first we tell ourselves that things are not so bad. We fill our lives with stopgap measures, hoping to stop the damage, but eventually, unless something is done, we will fall apart.
But the good news of the gospel is this, by faith in Christ, our lives are covered with His righteousness. The decaying consequence of our sins, the power of death and guilt, is removed. Unlike the lifeless filling in our teeth, or the fruitless things we use to ease our troubled hearts, we are given new life in Christ, new strength and new health. Like this dental crown, His righteousness gives protection from the destruction and decay of sin, but more than that, He crowns us with His love.
Two thoughts to end today’s message:
Floss and brush. As wonderful and helpful as my dentist has been, I would rather not have to go through this experience again. I know what’s recommended, now I have a good reminder of why its so important. Brushing after meals, flossing daily, avoiding sugary snacks; all of these will hopefully keep me in good dental health.
Rest in the righteousness of Christ. No good work that I can do could ever atone for the depth of my sin and offense to God. But the sacrifice of Christ, the grace and mercy found in the Cross, is sufficient for my sins, and for yours. In thanksgiving and praise I will live my life for His glory, trusting in the righteousness of Christ to cover me and to be my crown and my joy.