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

Things have changed.

January 16, 2017

    Old habits die hard. As time goes by, things change. We don't always keep up to the changes. Take for instance the evolving nature of automobiles.  The vehicles I grew up with had carburetors and the first thing you did before turning the ignition key was to pump the 'gas' pedal. This action primed the carburetor with fuel to then be ignited at start-up. 

    Old world, meet new world. Electronic fuel injection was introduced into auto technology and the way we did things changed dramatically. No longer was there a need to pump the 'gas' feed before turning the key. Turning the key till the dash lights illuminated electronically charged each of the cylinders with fuel, then turning the key farther ignited the mixture of air and gas to start the vehicle.

    Yesterday on my way home from church, I noted a car parked along the street with the hood up and people milling about. I drove by and pulled in front of the disabled vehicle.  As I climbed out, I asked if I could help. The response was, "We have a dead battery and need a jump start." Man, that was like music to my ears. I said, "Wait a minute." and turned back to get my battery booster.

    As I connected the cables, immediately the headlights of the car came on. Hmmm, that must have been what killed the battery. Oh well, it happens. With cables connected, I motioned to the elderly lady to crank the engine. (This was a later model car with fuel injection.) Immediately, I saw the throttle cable move back forth as she pumped the 'gas' feed about 5-6 times. Yikes! That isn't necessary. This lady probably grew up pumping gas into a carburetor. Her friend yelled, "Stop pumping the gas! You don't need to do that! You'll flood the engine!" I opened the door and explained to her about not needing to pump the 'gas' feed. She was upset to begin with and her friend yelling wasn't helpful.

    Long story short, the car eventually started and I was able to educate the lady about her starting procedures. I'm certain the next time she goes to start her car, she'll pump the throttle pedal before turning the key. It's a habit.

    I have been thinking about our faith and salvation a bit differently since yesterday. I see it everyday. People are still working for their salvation. They are trying to do so much good to offset the bad they have done in their lives. This isn't necessary. It never was.

    "When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves (the old way); but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption (the new way). The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! (Hebrews 9:11-14, NIV)

    We have salvation because of the work Jesus Christ . His life, death, and resurrection make our salvation possible. Yet, we still labor toward gaining salvation and think the more we do the better it will look on our salvation resume.  False! It's sort of like pumping the 'gas' feed on a electronic fuel injection equipped car. Stop it!  Own it! Claim it! Accept it! The work of Jesus atones for our sins, we just need to know it and live into it. Only by the blood of Christ can we serve Christ. And we should serve Christ, but not as a means for salvation. Oh, and when in doubt about how to start your car or claim your faith, read the owner's manual!

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