Let me begin by saying that I am working on my next ‘sin’ article but, being winter and seeing this snow, I am reminded of something that has struck me every winter for quite some time now. It is my best attempt at taking a natural event, reading something into it and applying it to my life. I know that it is not perfect and it has evolved over the years, but it is something that I would like to share.
I owned a car, or I should say my uncle owned a car, which I was fortunate enough to have gotten to drive. It was a 1985 Pontiac Fiero. I thought that car was one of the best looking vehicles ever. Sleek and sporty, it was right up there with a Ferrari. Now, as things do with time, they tend to age and get a little rough around the edges, paint fades and parts break. So ‘my car’ was looking a little worn, to say the least. I remember one winter, while at our local junior college, after it snowed and everything was totally covered in whiteness. I looked outside and was just struck by how pristine everything appeared. That old car was covered so you could just see the parts that still looked pretty good. That much white is such a contrast to our senses. Stop and think about how the world looks normally without that kind of covering.
Now, as things do with time, the snow began to melt and the world started returning to that pre-snow look. It’s the back to “normal” appearance of creation. If you watch this transformation, all of the sudden, the flaws start to creep back out and the eyes start to notice all of it. As we begin to move around in the world once more, the side streets and roads became visible again. That beautiful white pristine snow along the roadside is now a brownish black dingy mess. The yard that you peered over is now a grassy, muddy and snow mixed mess. The world underneath reappears and you now see it as it truly is, without its white covering.
I sat and pondered this and the idea struck me that this is a good visual representation of grace when we are fully tapped in, of course. The second stage is when we start to get off track, and last I hope you will see what it looks like when we are totally out from under grace. This will happen when we move out from under grace and embrace the law.
Usually snow happens every year in some quantity! I don’t know if God set it up this way or just nudged me to pay closer attention so I could use what I observed, but the more I thought about it the more I thought it made sense. We are that old beat up junky car which has been weathered by sin, age and life experiences. That’s where our walk with Christ begins. We are born again and ready for new life.
Matthew 9:17 (NASB)
“Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the wine pours out and the wineskins are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”
We will remain part “old junky car”, or old wine skins, and part new creation for the moment. We don’t get our new “skins” until we pass on from this world and go home or the Lord returns to catch us up in the sky and we are changed fully.
1 Corinthians 15:51-53 (NASB)
51Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.
Until that changing, however it may come, that snowy white covering is a reminder of the grace of God that falls ever so gently down on us and covers all of our failures and shortcomings – our sins. However, unlike grace, that snow will melt away. And this is a representation of what following the “LAW” looks like. The law could only point out our mistakes and could only cover you so long. Then it would gradually melt off revealing your flaws again. If we keep our faith, our grace does not melt away like that snow (LAW). It’s there even if you can’t see it all in time. And if you are truly saved, no matter what happens, you will retain that whiteness no matter how much you keep falling.
How do we “keep” that grace? I say “keep” because it is always there. Grace is “kept” not by some work and effort. It’s like when Paul says to examine your walk and work out your own faith with fear and trembling. You remain in a walk with God the same way you started with him – that is by faith. With the heart man believeth and with the mouth confession is made. Keep “faith-ing” and confessing Christ. And that “work” which is really NOT work, gets you in.
Romans 6:3-7 (NASB)
Believers Are Dead to Sin, Alive to God
3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7for he who has died is freed from sin.
I think about this snow idea off and on throughout the year, and I believe it to be a beautiful metaphor which I have used quite a bit. I return to it often, especially in light of our winter weather.
My pastor used to talk about the “repeatables” of God. When we notice that God keeps bringing stuff up in the Bible over and over then we need pay attention. I think the preaching on grace, by Paul especially, is something that we need to always keep in mind. There are some messages or ideas that we need to keep close to our hearts and minds, especially when the going gets dark and rough. We should, and need, to hang on to what we learned when times were good and not doubt in the dark what we learn in the light. It bears repeating.
Romans 12:9-21 (NASB)
9Let love be without hypocrisy Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17Never pay back evil for evil to anyone Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. 20“BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Remember that you are covered by grace, you know the truth, so walk ye in it and don’t be afraid.
Grace and Peace to everyone!