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The White Lines of Freedom (published in The Tribune 10/13/12)

posted Sep 7, 2013, 1:17 PM by Fccea Webmaster
"Truth to Live By" -- our church's tagline -- a bit out of step with the times. The latest polls indicate that most people don't believe in truth. And without truth, there is nothing to live by. Your way is as good as my way and vice versa.

However, simple logic demonstrates the absurdity of such a position. The statement "there is no such thing as absolute truth", is itself a statement of absolute truth! The position is logically indefensible by its own definition.

More to the point, no one lives like that. We all live like truth exists -- thankfully!

We just returned from a trip to the UK. They not only drive on the wrong side of the road there (!), but many of the roads wind interminably and are barely wide enough to fit two small cars -- a definite challenge to this freeway-addicted American!

Postmodern thought would suggest that freedom is being able to drive on any portion of those impossibly narrow roads which works only until the moment of accountability in the form of an oncoming tour bus! It quickly becomes clear that true freedom is found between the bright white line painted in the center of the road and the thick hedge, laden with hidden power poles defining a left boundary. Disaster looms -- except within the lines! No relativism there.

So -- people all over the world accept the absolute truth of "white lines" down the middle of roadways. To do otherwise would be foolhardy; we all know it and we all live like it.

That physical reality illustrates the spiritual truth of Jesus' statement: "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." You think freedom is the ability to live any way you want? I tell you freedom is to know my word and abide in it -- truth to live by.

Consider two great spiritual truths. The second greatest is this -- the wages of sin is death. That's what God told Adam and Eve way back in the beginning. Did God mean physical or spiritual death? How about both. The moment they sinned, the process of corruption and decay set in that would eventually take their life. Physical death. And, they found themselves hiding from a God with whom they had previously enjoyed perfect fellowship. Spiritual death. Every physical death from then until now is a continuing reminder of God's truth -- the white line -- sin means death.

But the greatest spiritual truth is the promise of redemption. We'll never stay safely within God's boundaries. It's impossible. But Jesus did. And then He gave His life to pay the penalty of death for anyone who would believe in Him. Peter said it this way: "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God."

Jesus successfully navigated the holy ground between the white middle line and the hedges, and now, through His death and resurrection, He offers His righteousness to us. That's the truth. But to live by it, we have to commit our life to His lordship. It's not enough to know, Paul says we must "confess Jesus as Lord" (Rom 10:9). It's an issue of faith.

Adam and Eve believed. When God promised a Redeemer through Eve's progeny (Genesis 3:15), Adam believed and named his wife Eve ("mother of all living"), before she even had any children (Genesis 3:20)! In response to their faith, God replaced their attempt to cover their own sin with fig leaves with garments of skins (redemption, bought at a price). Out of death, God brings life for those who believe.

"Truth to live by" -- out of vogue with the times, but perfectly in tune with God's revelation. Times change; God doesn't. That's why truth to live by will never go out of style.

Dave McNeff is pastor of the First Congregational Church of Eaton/Ault