Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Friday, July 11, 2014

Settling My Own Problems

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. --  1 Corinthians 6:9-11

This looks like it is turning out to be our theme for the week.

Being a libertarian, I like to let people mind their own business.  As John Wayne, in the character of John Bernard Books put it in The Shootist:   I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I expect the same from them.

What a person wants to do, so long as he or she is not harming or taking advantage of anyone else, is between that person and the Lord.  The kingdom of God is made up of all kinds of former sinners.  Being a former sinner is rather like being a former single person who is now married or a former civilian who is now in the military.  We have entered into a contract or covenant that controls in a new way what we do and how we have to think.  So, as former sinners, we have entered into the fellowship of the saints, being, by the Spirit, in covenant through Christ.  Our outlook and our behavior will be no longer the same. 

We also appreciate another Duke quote, this time through character Tom Doniphon from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance:  Out here a man settles his own problems.  We might add, “By the grace of God through faith”, but otherwise, what good is a man or woman who refuses to face up to the difficulties at hand?  Assuredly -- except possibly for the fictional John Ford cowboy, we all need others to lend a hand from time to time; no one can stand alone against evil. 

Yet, alone, we must peer into our hearts:  Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!  

There is a traitor in our midst, one who cannot be trusted, who must be locked down and guarded.  Release the old man from confinement, and he will jump your claim, poison the waterhole, bushwhack and back-shoot you.  He will swear his allegiance and tell you how much you need his help, but all your valiant efforts, good intentions and best-laid plans will come to naught so long as he is involved. 

Thus, if we see someone who claims to be a Christian yet remains in thrall to the old Adamic nature, we are right to question that one’s sincerity or understanding, or both.  Some of the items in Paul’s list may cut a little close to some of us.  We know our weaknesses, where we are most likely to stumble and fall, but we also know the way out of our temptations and even our failures.  The Apostle John puts it like this:  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  In here a man settles his own problems:  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

The mistake the people in Corinth were making was to suggest that what they were doing and how they were living was unrelated to their “state”.  We cannot claim that sin doesn’t count or that, because we are the ones doing it, it is not sin.  No exemptions:  If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

To stand together with our brothers and sisters against evil in the world, we must first stand with Christ alone against the evil in our hearts.


julie said...

We might add, “By the grace of God through faith”, but otherwise, what good is a man or woman who refuses to face up to the difficulties at hand?

Heh - this rings true today, as I've spent the morning tearing up the wall to find a leaking pipe. Thank God, it's a relatively simple fix (well, this part, anyway) but until I actually looked at it and discovered the problem, it loomed in the imagination like some kind of dread monster out to destroy the wall. With grace, perseverance, and a willingness do do what must be done, there isn't a whole lot in life that can't be faced. The unknown is often the worst part.

Don Johnson said...

Well now that's odd. I awoke from a dream this morning tearing out a wall searching for a leaky pipe.

I took it as personal allegory, of course. :-)

Good one today, Mush. No allegory needed.

mushroom said...

This is the day for water problems. My pump may have died. I tried changing out the fuses, but no luck. I've called the well-driller. We'll see if they can get here today.

No water is a bummer.

mushroom said...

Water update. We have water thanks possibly to the reset button, but I still have the guys coming out for a service call. I decided it wouldn't hurt to have them look over the situation to see if there's a short or something somewhere.

julie said...

Yeah, I found ours, too. Not water supply, but the drain line for the AC, which was broken and also needs to be flushed. Plus, the AC is producing too much condensation. Translation: A small river, running in to the wall, which is relatively easy and inexpensive to fix, but requires yet one more trip to the hardware store.


USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Yet, alone, we must peer into our hearts: Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!"

Examining ourselves and testing ourselves is crucial if we really do wanna seek out the truth.
Ain't no exceptions or loopholes neither.

Excellent post, Mushroom!

Rick said...

Last night's episode of Rectify, our hero begins tearing apart the kitchen.
Close enough for me.
Must be time to get down to brass tacks.

mushroom said...

Rectify is still going? I watched a the first episode or two. It's an interesting story. I saw the DVDs of it the other day, but it's probably too intense for my wife.

She gave up on "The Hatfields and McCoys" -- which is amazing because she would normally watch Kevin Costner pluck his nose hair.

mushroom said...

Speaking of Costner, if Julie drops back by, I don't understand his appeal. I like "Open Range" and "Silverado" and stuff, but he's just an actor.

I used to work with a pastor's wife who ran our data entry unit -- this was circa 1990 "Dances With Wolves" and "JFK" and all that. Her office was plastered with posters of Kevin Costner. The first time I walked in there, I said, "Who's this guy?"

Rick said...

Yep, Rectify is in episode 3 of season 2. It's well done.
I can't explain the Costner thing - probably cause we're guys. Which is kind of nice (that mystery about women).
I enjoyed Dances with Wolves but mostly for the visuals and the idea of it. Maybe he smells like cookies baking.*

*That's a reference to the movie Michael, starring John Travolta, Jean Stapleton, and William Hurt.

julie said...

Re. Costner, it's hard to say. I think he has a bit of the "bad boy with a heart of gold who just needs the right woman to set him straight" vibe. He's okay, but I don't find him irresistible. But then, I prefer Hollywood men from when they were still men and not morphing into overgrown girlyboys (Costner isn't at that extreme, but he's no Paul Newman).

I may reconsider if I discovered he actually does smell like cookies baking.

Rick said...

I haven't really seen Costner in all that many things, but my guydar tells me he's trying to be manly, which is fine or better than fine. But there are some, like Newman (my wife is also fond of Gable, Stewart, Bogart) who seem to just be that way naturally.

mushroom said...

Cool Hand Luke -- I don't know if anyone else could have done that. Newman was the real deal as a combat veteran and race car driver. The man was still racing in the Baja 1000 just a few years before his death.

The other real-deal motorcycle and car racer who comes to mind is, of course, McQueen.