First United Methodist Church, Lewistown, PA 17044  ~  717-248-4618   ~  fumc200@outlook.com

Are We Swine? No!

September 19, 2016

    I talked to a person the other day and they confided in me a great struggle inside them. They were uncertain of their future due to a failure in their recent past. They felt as though they might be condemned for their sins. I asked them if they knew Jesus as their Savior. They nodded their head. I quickly reminded them of Romans 8 and recited the first few lines of that text.

        "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ

        Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was

        powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the

        likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the

        righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful

        nature but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-4, NIV)

Have you ever read "Charlotte's Web"?  The first time I read it, I was probably about 8-9 years old. Having grown up on a farm, I was enthralled that pigs, geese, cows, horses, rats, and spiders could talk and carry on lives. Who knew? My experience with all these creatures (aside from the geese, ducks, and horse) contained moos, oinks, shifty shadowy figures underneath the chicken coop, and creepy spiderwebs. 

    Perhaps the most confounding story line in the book was the family washing Wilbur with buttermilk in preparation for the county fair. Getting a pig clean for the fair was all about presentation and appearance. On our farm, we never took pigs to the fair for presentation and wouldn't have considered the task of wrestling our porkers to get them clean. Have you ever wrestled a 250 pound pig?

     I'm no swine expert, but my understanding of the critters includes a general knowledge they like mud and wet places to wallow. Mud equals dirt, dung, and straw. It is in a pigs nature to seek these things out. Buttermilk baths would not be on a pig's "to do" list. Equating a clean pig to be a happy pig doesn't compute for me.

    Like swine, we to get dirty and maybe even seek to be dirty. Our overseer and Lord desires us to be clean and holy. When the Lord God cleans us from sin's curse and death's sting, we are justified. We have been found guilty of sin but made righteous through Christ's blood. We are clean! Human nature (or the flesh) draws us back toward the dirt and mud of life (sins). While we are good hearted people, we have that innate ability to seek unclean things. Are we swine? No!

    Worse still is the person who has confessed, repented, and received Jesus as their Lord, then doubt their salvation. It is akin to getting a bath and wondering if one is clean enough. A greater mistake is the person who has confessed, repented, and received Jesus as their Lord, then goes and finds the nearest mudpit to wallow in. In the former case, one needs to trust the cleansing process. Jesus died to save sinner from eternal death. He died to offer the sinner transformation (spiritual cleaning). In the latter case, one needs to seize the reality of God's grace and gift of salvation, then live in the spirit and in faith believing Romans 8:1-4.

    How about you, do you know Jesus as Lord? If so, do you embrace that relationship? Or, are you seeking a good damp mud hole somewhere to settle down into? Hopefully you embrace Christ and avoid the mud. Are we swine? No!

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