Messages from Young Adults

Still Slaves

“We’re all slaves to time,” Pastor Gordon Jones of the Alpha SDA Church declared.  I returned to the Hill Country for a bit of family time this Independence Day weekend, and Sabbath morning I found myself listening to Pastor Jones school me on some legal terms… spiritually speaking, that is.

“If you don’t know that you’re a slave, freedom won’t matter,” the hook in a message truly meant for a Sabbath landing on the 4th of July.  We started somewhere around Romans chapter 6 verses 14 through 18.  At first, I’m not quite sure how the predominantly African American congregation was swallowing the blunt ‘you’re a slave’ reality slap – it’s a word that too often sends tense chills down spines laden with skin tones ranging from milk to dark chocolate.   It wasn’t like we’d never heard it before even though, I mean – he took it straight off the page. Verses 17 and 18 is where Paul said we go from being slaves of sin to slaves of righteousness.

But, still no response from the congregation.  I guess in a little anticipated frustration for the “Amen!” shortage, Pastor Jones went on to give us an illustration.  There was a guy who got a ticket, and in the process of going to clear his ticket at the courthouse another parking citation greeted him when he returned to his car.  You see, we go from clearing our name under grace right back to sin – under the law again.  You know, in Colossians 2:14 where it says “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.”  Some of us get hung up on our sins being nailed to the cross, and so we don’t mind racking up citations anymore.  When was the last time you checked your rear view mirror for those spiritual red lights?

Pastor Jones quickly shot down the ‘don’t-judge-me-cuz-it’s-all-nailed-to-the-cross’ notion with a parallel. Considering we’re in a recession, wouldn’t it make sense for the President to declare no more laws? Of course not, so “Why would you think God’s gonna run his government with less intelligence than Obama?” In other words, why would He nail all biblical law to the cross?

Then Pastor Jones took us over to Deuteronomy and reminded us that God hand wrote the 10 Commandments not once but twice.  While God could have told Moses to transcribe these eternal laws, He chose to do it Himself. With the finger of God as the pen, there’s no doubt about His intentions.

It was about then when the congregation eased up a bit. The idea of being labeled as “slave” was no longer so politically incorrect.  After all, we can’t escape jurisdiction. We’re all subject to one law or another, and “…being citizens of God’s kingdom requires you to follow the rules.” Ahhh, I see.

But there was one other important element to the message. We had to distinguish the “inside” from the “pocket” of the chest.  God told Moses to place the 10 Commandments inside the ark.  Down a few chapters in Deuteronomy 31:26 God said, “Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.”  Can you say dejavu? Yeah, we’ve seen that before back in Colossians.  The laws blotted out in Colossians 2:14 were the ones that were against us aka the book of the law that Moses placed in the pocket or in the side of the ark NOT the laws God told him to put inside the ark.

Already forgotten why that matters?  Well, essentially we don’t get a free pass at life.  While we may be liberated, we are free to sin without consequence.  God’s law still has a vital role.  It’s supreme jurisdiction demands we heed it.  So how will you spend your time?  As the sermon came to an end, the whispers sporadicaly chanted “slave to righteousness,”  and we could see the solidification of a message entitled “Love is How I do my time.”

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