I was recently assisting my son on his science homework which was focused on genetics and pedigree charts, tracing autosomal dominant and recessive traits within a family. As we completed the task, I reflected upon the hypothetical three-generation pedigree chart that traced a deadly disease through each generation. This could be me! My maternal grandfather passed away from stomach cancer at the age of 82 years. My mother passed from stomach cancer at the age of 77 years. I am the third generation. If this trend continues, will I join them in less than 20 years?
I have a pedigree of stomach cancer. As a physician, I am aware of rare genetic syndromes that may be linked to familial stomach cancer as well as several medical diseases and lifestyle choices that may increase one’s predisposition and risk. While I may make dietary changes and obtain frequent screening endoscopies, it may still be inevitable that I will succumb to this same cancer. Stomach cancers may be insidious and occasional present with a metastasis before a mass or symptoms are even detected. Ultimately, there may be nothing I can do to change this path.
As serious as this pedigree of cancer that I may carry, there is an even more serious pedigree that I know I have inherited, the pedigree of sin. Unlike the uncertainty of whether I will be afflicted with stomach cancer, I am already fatally afflicted with sin. It began killing me the moment I was conceived.
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all people, because all sinned.
Romans 5:12 (CSB)
Adam’s sin irreparably damaged our perfect genetic and spiritual nature, bestowed unto us by God. Unlike my stomach cancer, there is something that I can do, to rescue me from the sure path of death.
If by the one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:17 (CSB)
If we have a pedigree of disease, there may be very little to prevent or mitigate the possibility of succumbing to the disease. For many years, my spiritual fate was no different. I would volunteer and contribute to various charitable organizations, thinking these good works would offset my otherwise sinful behaviors. While my actions may have made me feel good about myself, it did not change the fact that I was still a sinner, destined to die and be eternally separated from God, my Creator. Only an Almighty God can eliminate the tragic toll of sin. He did it by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to reconcile mankind with His Creator. All who confess and repent of their sins and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will have salvation and eternal life.
The pedigree of sin and inevitability of death has been banished forever!
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.