What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
From Our “Here”…
Second Life is an online environment that now attracts millions of visitors from around the world. Users create avatars, or alternate computer-generated personalities rendered in high-definition. These avatars interact in countless ways that mimic life. They meet socially, pursue career-related and entertainment activities, organize group events, even marry and divorce — you name it.
Second Life relationships have led to real-life friendships and romances. Cash generated in Second Life can be exchanged for the cold, hard variety. A single mom in Atlanta has supplemented her income by about $10,000 a year using her home studio to sing through her avatar in a Second Life club—where she can also market CDs of her music. Another virtual artist landed a recording contract after he realized a Second Life talent scout avatar represented an actual record label. A medical university in England is developing training routines for students who interact with Second Life patients.
Where will this technology take us? At some point, will a government legally recognize a marriage between avatars? Could an entertainer make a living within the confines of a computer-generated world, or a doctor treat a lineup of patients who recreate their symptoms exclusively online? Will some users immerse themselves in a virtual reality around the clock?
…To God’s “There”
God offers each of us a true second life. It’s not a pixilated facsimile of our day-to-day existence, but a divinely designed new and eternal identity. In God’s plan, we don’t try to recreate the old us, but embrace His best for us.
The ease with which people can accept the “reality” of a computer-generated environment is a sobering reminder that this world cloaks innumerable pitfalls in the guise of appealing temptations. Beyond resisting temptation themselves, Christ’s followers are called to reach out to others who are trapped in the deception of false religion or irreligious self-reliance. Believers have a God-given responsibility to point the lost to Jesus as the one way of escape from this life’s countless illusions into eternal life with God himself.
Making the Leap
It is important, when preparing yourself to tell others about Jesus, to identify any areas in your own life where you are being less than honest. This doesn’t mean you share your worst mistakes with one and all. Rather, you ask the Holy Spirit to help you pursue whatever personal healing and recovery you need in order to be wholly transformed for God’s service. As you grow fully into the second life God has given you through Christ, you can become a compelling influence for others to accept new life as well.