Plenty of time to make healthy observations during the COVID19 “timeout,” and here’s one, if you haven’t mulled it over in recent days.
How much, if any, is there perhaps even a SHRED of vindication for us, as God’s people?
When we are right with Him, we aren’t looking for excuses, looking to hide our sin under every rock and around every corner. We scarcely think of being vindicated. We confess our sin; we acknowledge both our wrongdoing AND our iniquity. Oh yes, we might blame-cast from time to time, but show us that we’re doing it, and we will stop. The problem is, of course, that we’re still stumbling, still sinning, still falling short, and far too often, with no vindication in sight!
And yet … there is this place, and Paul speaks of it at the end of Romans, chapter 7, where our love for God, for His will, His Word, and His way, not to mention His Son, Who encapsulates all of that, matters. In our minds, with all our consideration, we love Him now, and we love His way and His purpose, and in that location – what? We are vindicated there? Not so much that, as it is that that locale IS our vindication. Sort of like the cross-stitch samples on the wall, come to life:
“When you’re here, you’re home.”
We have passed from death to life, by that very change of mind, change of heart, surrender of our old lives and of the old man and of the body of death we have been dragging around.
We are new. We appreciate having our hearts examined, even when it is very, very painful to see what has lodged there. The surgeon cannot remove the bullet or the shrapnel he cannot see, and we do want deadly sin and hypocrisy, OUT!
For another, we do hate evildoers, the spiritual ones, the enemies in exalted places that exalt themselves above the Word of God. Ha! As if they could! But they do try, and we abhor them. More than that, we hate when we give them the time of day.
You know, in some ways, I think we are more blameless before God than we know, just as we are more sinful than we ever wanted to realize. In this life, we have to embrace all the superlatives, including the good ones!
How does that work?
“There is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)
There is a new “natural” law at work; it is natural in this new Body and in this new Kingdom. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has MADE US FREE from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2). The letter of the law couldn’t make us obey the law, but the Son, the firstborn among us all, He both obeyed and brought us into His own heart … gave us a new heart, and wrote His law upon it. All this without repenting of having extended such generosity to such a frail people! That is so “the point”. He knew what He was getting, how frail indeed are we, His own, and so He gives His strength.
We stumble, we get tripped up … hopefully, we see what happened, usually where we failed to believe:
- How new we are
- How loved we are
- How right we are with God
- How great His power toward those who believe
Read Psalm 26 today, and try praying it with those things in mind, for yourself and for someone struggling, perhaps a young person, perhaps someone fainting along the way. Let’s remember that it is the Enemy who is meant to eat the dust of our lives … that is, we want to give him nothing to feed upon. No self pity, no bitterness, no lusting of any kind. Just dust, dust, dust!
Let’s see if our observations may not take a turn for the better. For all our shortcomings, if our reliance upon Jesus Christ as the True and Forgiving, Healing and Shepherding, Redeeming and Liberating Son of God is our righteousness, we may be doing better than we think.
Vindicate me, Lord,
for I have led a blameless life;
I have trusted in the Lord
and have not faltered.
2 Test me, Lord, and try me,
examine my heart and my mind;
3 for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love
and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.
4 I do not sit with the deceitful,
nor do I associate with hypocrites.
5 I abhor the assembly of evildoers
and refuse to sit with the wicked.
6 I wash my hands in innocence,
and go about your altar, Lord,
7 proclaiming aloud your praise
and telling of all your wonderful deeds.
8 Lord, I love the house where you live,
the place where your glory dwells.
9 Do not take away my soul along with sinners,
my life with those who are bloodthirsty,
10 in whose hands are wicked schemes,
whose right hands are full of bribes.
11 I lead a blameless life;
deliver me and be merciful to me.
12 My feet stand on level ground;
in the great congregation I will praise the Lord.
Pacific Gopher Snake … dust eater!
Wikipedia, Bill Bouton, by permission