Monday, January 10, 2011

NEW START

Gone are the days when poets and other writers tried to lob crumpled sheets of paper into waste-paper baskets with basket-baller precision! What masterpieces might perhaps have Burns, Shakespeare or Paterson thrown away in moments of frustration? Nowadays bards simply delete offending pieces from their computer screens! No damage done. A button is pushed and a clean sheet appears, but, once the delete button is pressed there’s no way of retrieval; there’s no un-crumpling of paper fished out of the bin when of a calmer disposition. Gone means gone in the computer age!

What if God were to fetch from the waste-paper bin the crumpled up story of your life? Our lives have no delete button. What kind of mistakes would God see if He un-crumpled and read your life’s record? In the beginning He made mankind perfect, male and female. He wrote His perfect Law on our heart. But who can look back over their life and say that they lived it exactly as God designed? And, who can blame God for any wrong-doing they’ve done? Unkind angry thoughts? Rash and harsh words? Things we’ve done of which we’re now embarrassed? I am but a quill dipped in sin, inking my own death warrant!

Who can stand the fact that God records every idle (or is it ‘idol’?) word we speak? Would it help us to enjoy life better if we dumped everything we know about God? Then we could start anew with the proverbial clean sheet! This type of thinking can be shrunk down to the size of a bumper sticker, which may then be blown up in size and graffiti-ed onto the side of an English double-decker bus, thus: ‘There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.’ That word ‘probably’ signals that it’s all right to continue to worry. Therefore, there must be a better way!

Job wanted to chisel his words into rock and fill them with lead forever! But he wasn’t writing the story of his own life. His words reduced to a bumper sticker might read, ‘I know that my Redeemer lives!’ Put that on the side of your corporation bus! So what is it then? Ought we to throw God under the bus or acknowledge that He lives and that He is the Redeemer? I opt for the latter! It’s solidly historical and so well documented. In fact there is a whole Book written on the subject! The teaching of the Bible shrunk onto a bumper-sticker might read, ‘The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’ This is how we enjoy life: we stop rejecting God by hoping that He ‘probably’ is not watching us. Rather we glorify Him and enjoy Him forever in everything we do.

God is the poet and the writer. He didn’t crumple up anything He wrote because He makes no mistakes! The message of His Book says, ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life’ John 3:16. Does a believer have anything to worry about? No? Then surely it’s more reasonable simply to acknowledge that the Redeemer truly lives and put your trust in Him instead of believing in a mere probability?

God’s Law is what shows us up as sinners in need of redemption. Writing anti-Christian slogans on the sides of buses is clear evidence that we are sinners. Indeed, the subtlety of the ‘There’s probably no God’ message is that it completely misses what God’s message is all about! We are not reconciled to God by our own feeble attempts at good works, for this is slavery! Rather, we are set free from our bondage to sin and its ultimate penalty through belief in our God and Saviour Jesus Christ. ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast’ Ephesians 2:8-9.

God gives a new start to anyone willing to believe in Christ alone for salvation. With this new start comes liberty. On the one hand there’s emancipation from hoping in probabilities as you work hard to reject God, and on the other there’s freedom from the slavery of always wondering if you’ve done enough to please God. As the Son of God says, ‘Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed’ John 8:36. And as He says through His Apostle, ‘It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery’ Galatians 5:1.

Enjoy yourself as you sit on the bus with ‘I know that my Redeemer lives!’ on its sides. Forget your trail of ink-blobs. Look to Jesus. Believe in Him as your God and Saviour. For only then will you truly be able to stop worrying and truly enjoy yourself.

‘Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Saviour, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen’ Jude 1:24-25.

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