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Coram Deo (published in The Herald-Voice 11/2/11)

posted Sep 7, 2013, 1:16 PM by Fccea Webmaster
I vividly remember Mom asking, "Just what is the big idea, young man?" It wasnt really a question. It was an accusation. She was challenging me to justify some ill-advised behavior, knowing full well that I had no justification.

Over time, such incidents served to remind me that all of life is lived Coram Deo -- in the presence of God or before the face of God. Mom and Dad eventually released me from their authority but, as it turns out, only to an infinitely greater accountability.

Most of us hate the very idea of accountability. Any excuse in a pinch will do. Like the young man who dented a parked car while trying to park his own. The accident report asked, "What could the operator of the other vehicle have done to avoid the accident?" His response: "He could have parked somewhere else!"

Worst case, we willingly fall back on the excuse, "I'm only human. God will overlook a couple of indiscretions. He owes it to me for all the other stuff I've done right." Like the guy who got a letter from the bank that said, "Your account appears to be overdrawn." He wrote back, "Please write again when you're absolutely certain."

It turns out, God is already certain. He wants no surprises on that day a few years from now when we give account to Him. His verdict is, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Not some, but all. When measured against the glory of God, we all come up short.

How we would like to ignore that fact. C. S. Lewis, who became the leading Christian apologist of the 20th century, tried that tact. After his mother's death, his father sent him to boarding school where he gave up Christianity out of a desire to do his own thing -- call his own shots. He called God the Great Interferer and convinced himself that God did not exist because he realized that God's existence would mean accountability.

His actions are reminiscent of an old John Lennon song, "Imagine." It begins, "Imagine there's no heaven. It's easy if you try. No hell below us. Above us only sky. Unfortunately, imagining will not make it so. Years later, Lewis came to that realization. To the best of my knowledge, Lennon never did.

There is actually something far better than imagining. The same God to whom we are all accountable, in recognition of our dilemma, has made a provision at the cost of His own Son. The Apostle Paul describes the option this way: "We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (II Cor. 5:20-21).

Coram Deo is a reality of life. But we have a choice as to how we look to Him. We can live before His face in our own broken, short-fallen condition. Or we can live before Him covered by the perfect righteousness of Christ. It's our choice.

And what we choose will probably determine whether we see God as the Great Interferer or as a loving heavenly Father worthy of all praise and worship and glory. Coram Deo!

By His Grace, Pastor Dave