There is a right way and a wrong way

November 13, 2022

My Grandmother towards the end of her life used to say, “You know Mark, you can live too long”. I always thought this a peculiar sentiment. How can you live too long? There is so much to see, do and explore. She obviously had her reasons for thinking this; was it outliving her friends or losing her mobility? Or was it the loss of novelty and the fatigue of living in a world she could no longer keep up with?

Time is linear with ebbs and flows and once you have been around for at least 40 years, I can confidently say you will notice the patterns and cycles repeating for a second or third time. King Solomon reminds us in Ecclesiastes chapter 1, there is nothing new under the sun regardless of how it is packaged.

Should have known better?

Things can start to become all too familiar. Yesterday, for example, I was in the basement bringing up firewood for the stove; I was over-burdened with logs and kindling. As I went up the stairs, I said to myself, "I know how this ends" but I thought I could beat the odds, just this one last time; sure enough as I approached the burner - like a game of Jenga, something gave, and an armful of wood came tumbling down. My foot caught one log, another fell flat, yet another bounced off the tile hearth but the forth log struck the vacuum cleaner which ejected it at an errant angle causing the point of the log to strike my wooden floor leaving an unsightly dent which grieves me every time I now pass it. It was my own fault. Why did I persist?

Debts need paid

In a broader view, we know there are immutable laws which if broken lead to consequences, yet, too often we think we can beat the odds - When younger, we may get lucky a few times and we erroneously believe that the rules don’t apply to us but after a few knocks, we learn that while you might get away with something once, your luck does eventually run out. As I always say on this blog, there is a debt to be collected, but it doesn’t always get collected immediately. Sometimes, it is delayed by months or years but we must pay the debt with interest and with this in mind I want to look at the Moral Law.

The Moral Law is there for our protection

Without going too deep - the Moral Law is the rule for “right living”. A set of guidelines and principles which tells us right from wrong. My starting point for this is as a Christian. The Moral Law is what God says it is in the Bible and there are several points where we are given specific instruction about His nature, the created order and how then, we might live. We do well to pay attention as the law is a protective fence put in place for our flourishing. A good starting point, known to all, is the 10 Commandments.

Penalty for ignoring the moral law

Some bristle at the thought of 10 divine laws being relevant for us today in a pluralistic, secular society. Have we not evolved sufficiently to live well and to live morally? If you flinch, is this because you don’t like being told what to do, or how to live your life? I don’t much like it either. In fact, I’ve broken every law either in practice or in my heart. I haven’t put God first; I have looked out for myself. I have coveted my neighbours possessions and been lustful to list a few. In every area as I reflect upon my life there has been a price to pay for when I have CHOSEN to not live by the moral code. I’m sure that there are still some debts outstanding that will come due soon. I just don’t know what they are yet.

You see, it is a choice to live correctly; It is always a choice because we are rational creatures, with consciences reminding us we were made in the image of God. We can deny it, but still the implication persists. This for me is the important point, If we were made in His image, this means that within us, there will be a desire for rectitude, integrity and order. Are we not disappointed when we fail to live in alignment? We miss the mark. We know there is a mark. God put His will for us, in our very design.

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live. Duet 30v 19

The Moral law can’t save

Don’t forget that there is no salvation in the moral law. That boat sailed long ago. Salvation is in Christ alone through faith. However, if you want to live well and avoid the pitfalls. We must live according to our design and within the God-given mandate. We only have a short time on this earth to make it count. Everyone of us makes mistakes, we sow bad seed every day it is almost as if we can’t help it. As Jeremiah says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" Jer 17 v 9

The thinning veil

I often wonder, as we age does the veil between this world and next become thinner? Many of us get a clarity on how the Creator designed the system to work, and we become troubled at our unrighteousness and failure, and we are burdened with regrets; perhaps this is why my Grandmother could say “You can live too long” because the intensity burns inside us for something better, we know we need restoration and we rightly say, “this can’t be it”?

I leave you with a choice

This mortal life is not all there is. We were built for Heaven but Heaven is a choice.

Your job, is to look to the Cross for salvation, serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling (Ps 2v11) and get on the mission - start taking some righteous territory.

You have a decision to make. Christ or Chaos. One offers an upward path to glory; the other is a descent into Hell.