The Attractive Wild Parsnip. Radical Grace from the Book of Romans (6:16, 18)

The Attractive Wild Parsnip. Radical Grace from the Book of Romans (6:16, 18)


Northern Michigan 

"Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey-whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? . . . You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness." (Rom 6:16, 18 NIV2)

Have you ever heard of wild parsnips? Unlike regular parsnips, this one is quite undesirable.

I learned about wild parsnips during a recent trip to the most Northerly point of Northern Michigan.

Interestingly enough, the plant is usually found where disturbances such as road work occurs. The first year it produces a rosette with a fern-kind of leaf. The following year it produces a beautiful flower comparable to a yellow Queen Anne's lace.

I can imagine coming close to sniff it, for I enjoy beautiful flowers. However, the consequences would be far from agreeable. This plant contains a sap that, once in contact to the skin, as well as exposed to sunlight, produces severe chemical burns and sores that make poison ivy look like a piece of cake. These burns and sores can last up to 6 months. No wonder they consider this plant to be a hazard to tourism!

Who in their right mind would even want to touch it, even if its flower is so beautiful? We would be instantly enslaved to the consequences of its sap. Pure torture, don't you think?

The same is true of disease. We become enslaved to the consequences of illness as well.

It becomes even worse when we dabble in sin. It may look innocent and attractive at first. "It's only for once," we may think, but before we know it, we find ourselves enslaved. The more we try to get free, the more firmly it controls us. How many don't ask themselves why they got into the sin in the first place, but now it is too late.

The good news is, it's never too late! Unlike the wild parsnip, there is a solution, and this solution is only provided by the One who willingly died for us so that we could experience freedom. We have to accept Him to find that freedom, however. Jesus' reality has to become greater than the reality of our sin. Only then can we declare, "We have been set free!" Never to ever return to that bondage!

Hey, did you notice that beautiful flower?

Rob Chaffart

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