Whatsoever Things Are True
by Dan Coburn
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
Rocky: Did I ever tell you about my dog? I love my dog. A Parson's Jack Russell Terrier that is completely house broken - (they said it couldn't be done). 
He loves to go boating - (thinks the boat is his), loves to swim, loves to go four-wheelin, loves to chase anything that moves whether it is bigger than him or not. Rocky loves everyone, and that kinda scares me as he will jump in anyone's rig and say: "Let's Go". He literally helps me carry in firewood. I have had to replace several doggie doors as he beats them to a fare thee well trying to get the wood in with him.  He fetches the morning paper every morning. Lately, he has even given it to us in a readable condition.   
He is a lot like my kids in that as much as I love him, others (even/especially my friends) seem able to find fault in him. A visiting evangelist dubbed him "The Antichrist"; a nomenclature the balance of my congregation seemed to adopt. He (the evangelist) stayed with my wife and I and thought that since Rocky could at times defy gravity, there was something suspicious. Rocky came with the patented "accu-probe" feature. This is where he is like a lizard and can get you with his tongue when you think you are way out of range. He never misses. This has led to one of my closest friends naming him "Doctor Rocky", cause he is a ear, nose and throat specialist.  He is getting a bad rap. He treats everyone like family, and greets them the same way; with his nose probing  -- well, you get the picture. This may be why our favorite Vet before making Rocky a Rockett, said: "I'm gonna enjoy this".  
What am I saying?  Rocky, with all his wonderful attributes, has faults. The thing is, he doesn't know they are faults, and it's up to me to teach him. Let's turn the Spiritual Switch.  We also at first, don't know what's right or what's wrong. No parent in history had to teach their kids to take what they wanted, or tell a lie. We teach them not to. In our innocence, it is overlooked, but when we understand, it is not. "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:"  Acts 17:30.  Or: "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." James 4:17.  
So how ultimately, do we know sin? Ever notice how we all seem to draw our lines indifferent places? Some don't seem to have a moral compass at all. So how do I know? You see, most folks (for whatever reason) picture God in heaven wielding a giant celestial fly-swatter, waiting anxiously to swat me when I get out of line.  I was witnessing to a friend at the sawmill in Elk City years ago, and when I was done, he clenched his fists and with distended neck veins, screamed: "I wish you had never told me".  This illustrates the frustration felt by so many. God not only lays down an impossible list of dos and don'ts, but then says if I am guilty of one sin, I am guilty of all of them (James 2:10). 
Well, then I'm hosed. This is impossible, and it is -- In Our Own Strength. God has always known you Cannot keep these laws flawlessly. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23. His purpose for giving these laws then, is clear. "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."  The main purpose then, is to show all of us that we are guilty. All the same. Everyone of us.  
It (the law) has been compared to a mirror. A mirror shows us our dirty face. It doesn't wash our face, nor does it claim to. It simply shows our true condition. Same with the law. Churchy folks aren't people who are in denial about their dirty faces, they have rather, accepted the truth of their reflections as viewed by the Word of God. Church isn't a country club for saints but rather a hospital for those bold enough to admit they're sick.  Question is - ultimately, what are you going to do with the mirror?  Jesus is the remedy, and is anxious to clean us. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus," Romans 8:1.  It isn't a burden, It's liberating. God Bless.

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522


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