Snake Charmer

“So the LORD God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head and will strike his heel (Genesis 3:14-15 NIV).’”

A few weeks back, Milo Sutcliffe and his wife were doing some yard work at their home near Corpus Christi, Texas when they came across a four-foot rattlesnake (1). Milo fetched a shovel and quickly decapitated the serpent neutralizing its threat…or so he thought. He reached down to pick up the severed head and it latched both fangs into his fingers releasing all of its venom. Milo suffered vision loss, internal bleeding, and seizures (2). Milo’s kidneys failed and doctors informed Jennifer that he likely would not survive. They induced a coma and after receiving 26 rounds of anti-venom dialysis he recovered from his deadly brush with the reptile.

Dr. Keith Boesen, director of the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center says that snakes retain this deadly reflex and such occurrences are not unheard of. So it is with the sin’s deadly sting. Some who have come out of the viper pit that is the world outside of Christ have been drawn back into it by their former ways of life. Some return to their former associations with friends who influence them towards their former way of life. Simon the Sorcerer believed the gospel and was baptized (Acts 8:13). But soon after he saw the miraculous powers of the Holy Spirit being performed and quickly thought of how he could use such gifts for his own profit. After offering the Apostles a bribe for such abilities, Peter rebuked him and commanded him to repent and pray that God would forgive his wickedness (Acts 8:22).

We truly do need one another and the continual council of Scripture to remind us of sin’s poisonous effects. James was writing to Christians when he explained that each of us can be drawn away when we are tempted by our own desires. “Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death (James 1:15).” The possibility of Christians forsaking Christ and losing their salvation after sin has been disarmed is real as the inspired writer closed his book with this admonition; “BRETHREN, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins (James 5:19-20).”

The blood of Christ will continue to cleanse us from all sin if we walk in the light and confess our sins. The Apostle warned; “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them (2 Peter 2:20-21).”

While Christ has crushed the old serpent’s (Revelation 12:9) head and it can no longer harm us unless we choose to return and pick it up once again. The sting of death is sin (1 Corinthians 15:56) but we who have died to sin are freed from its sting (Romans 6:2-8).

“But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner (Hebrews 6:9).”


Billy Alexander is a member of the church of Christ in Jersey Village in Houston, TX. He and his wife Gwen both work at Hewlett-Packard where they met and have worked more than 25 years each. Billy enjoys teaching Bible several times each week at Jersey Village and Memorial church of Christ. Since 2008, his weekly article "Equipping the Saints" as run in the Jersey Village bulletin.