“All we like dead chickens are gone astray, we are every one turned into our own decay…”
(Vining allegorical paraphrase of Romans 3 and Ephesians 2 principles.)
I have on occasion opportunity to perform the dastardly deed of dealing with dead chickens. One thing for sure: when chickens die there is a total cessation of activity. They neither cluck nor clack, and no longer do whatever chickens typically do: eat, drink and make messes and merry with roosters… perhaps the latter point is more illustrative of the next-to-useless rooster’s perspective. Presumably some chickens are reputed to lay eggs now and again when not on strike as mine most certainly are at present. (The heck of it is that I have not to date received a grievance list in the empty egg basket.)
When dead though, chickens stop ordinary functions and no longer serve useful purpose to their Sustainer in Chief, and it is then I reluctantly move them postmortem to the distant burn pile. They are cut off from all semblance of life and hope when found in this final predicament. The chickens are thereby committed to rest, their battle won with scarce a mumble of appreciation as they are tossed unceremoniously to the top of the pile. It is here they will stay until they decay or end up being burned with utter indifference to the quality of their works or number of laid eggs. These facts remain true unless the carcass is acted upon by outside forces. These forces often come by stealth in multiple forms just as a thief in the night… typically by buzzard, stray dog or nasty coyote. (My dog Jack gets a severe verbal rebuke for any attempt to consort with the dead. We are not that sort of folks out here on the Vining Plantation, and will not tolerate such behavior by domesticated animals nor humans alike. I think of Lonesome Dove and the warning sign, “We don’t rent pigs.” Some things are well beyond profane.)
Ongoing research has led me to observe that dead chickens never become animated again regardless of the force or strength of entity that acts upon them. Even when varmint intervention occurs and they are forcibly moved they never achieve original animation, and are ultimately only consumed and spread across the balance of my 9 acres after due digestive process and transformation into varmint dung fertilizer. Here is the point: If we are really, really just as dead as dead chickens as I have intimated, these options sound pretty terrible to me as we approach the final goal line by entry into the “red zone”.
Quite candidly it’s the maggots that get me most of all. The putrid smell of death that surrounds these carrion-eating vermin works upon all sensory pathways, but most especially the olfactory pathways to trigger the “stink-sensitive” N&V regions of the brain. Frankly a writhing group of maggots does wonders to the eye gate also. (N&V is nursing lingo for hurling your toenails up.)
So my question is this: Does it even seem reasonable that this is the best we might expect… that this is what God has destined us to… we who were made a little lower than God, to rule and exercise dominion over the earth? Yes, even we who were made in His likeness and image? Not hardly, I think. Rather as children we progress toward hope resolved with these words of comfort, “God has not destined us for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Glory. We seek saving glory and not decay. We seek another city whose walls and foundations are as eternal as our Master Architect. We pursue “life, life, eternal life” as much as Graceless on his initial dash toward the wicket gate before his name change to Christian upon entry. “This mortal shall put on immortality; the perishable, imperishable.” (Check out the hope of 1 Corth 15 for those who practice the things revealed in the earlier portions of chapter 15: Believe!)
Back on track…
In the meantime we are spiritually akin to dead chickens and must be acted upon by an outside Power, a Force or Entity. We are dead as dead chickens. Lifeless with no spiritual pulse, separate from God, without hope, without God in this world though we may be as rich and nutty as Gates or Trump, or even as a lone strutting rooster without competition surrounded by 2-3 dozen plus beauties without resistance to his every whim. God must move. God must rend the heavens. God must issue command beyond the general to the particular, secret, effectual calling of our name. “Lazarus, COME FORTH!” And he did, as we still do we. “All that the Father has given Me come…”
“But God…” must get involved in our deadness, our helplessness, our hopelessness through the gospel of free and sovereign grace. He raises the dead and animates them with power by His Breath, and in His pleasure for His glory.
Lewis helps… with another of those memorable word pictures you never forget:
“This world is a great sculptor’s shop. We are the statues and there’s a rumor going around the shop that some of us are someday going to come to life.”
CS Lewis in Mere Christianity
Oh yeah, we must deal with the unpleasantries of this business about dung. (Philippians 3:8) That is what the Bible candidly calls your attempts to save yourself. Crap. You are covered in a veneer of crap that is a stench in the nostrils of Holy God. When is the last time you intentionally looked like crap and dressed like crap and smeared dung upon your self as perfume to fit yourself for the King to actually participate in His Son’s wedding feast? (Hunters in a passionate fit of eagerness to be stealth may rub fox urine or the like on their clothing to mask offensive human BO… but I have never heard of fox poo or the like being used.) Likely, you too have never so adorned yourself either, but if you have… when did you escape the sanitarium and what is their number? Babies do that though… paint in poo and think it is fun. (SPV) Are you still an infant attempting to finger-paint upon Self and surroundings to wear a facade of hypocrisy?? If you insist on saving yourself that is precisely what Scripture teaches you are and what you do. And you have plans to attend the Marriage Supper of the Lamb dressed in what? (Remember the parable of the one at the Wedding Feast dressed inappropriately? It did not end well for him as he was bound and cast into Outer Darkness.)
Really dead men, really do not walk and can only attain to animation when God acts and imparts life to them. “But God…”
We know the post-life evidences of this impartation are repentance and faith in response to the word of His power.
Regeneration or the new birth is our Genesis of life. You don’t believe and won’t believe and can’t believe as a dead man. “But God…” first moves, then God imparts life and light as the Spirit bursts forth in the faint cry of adoption, “Abba. Father.” And we awaken to a life hidden with Christ in God.
And He makes all things new.
Ephesians 2:1-10 (NASB)
Made Alive in Christ
[2:1] And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,
 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.
 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Forgive me for the way my fried brain works. I really do look and listen to God speaking in all of life though, even when tending stinking, dead chickens.