Tuesday, June 25, 2013

CP 213 To kill a cat...



CP 213 To kill a cat…
Cats and kittens were a problem in North Wagga during my childhood. Being ‘over the bridge’, the low-lying flood-prone public reserves surrounding us on three sides were an obvious place to dump unwanted cats and their litters of kittens. They came to homes like ours and were ‘disposed of’. Dad’s way was a brick in a sealed sack tossed into the river. Often I did the job myself. By today’s standards what we did was criminal. Nobody gave it a second’s thought in the 1950s and 60s. Years later we had a family cat which had ringworms. It was duly ‘dealt with’. More years later, in 1999, we had a surplus cat. It was put down by a vet. Laws change…
Those memories were first stirred by an ABC News item back in November 2009. Two people were charged with a vicious attack on a puppy in western NSW. Apparently a border-collie puppy was diagnosed by a vet as being gravely ill with parvovirus. The vet offered to euthanase the animal at no cost. The offer was refused. The puppy was taken outside of town and dealt with … Criminal charges were laid. The laws had changed…
Dad sometimes gave us a hiding. I spanked my kids. These days spanking is seen as child abuse, a criminal matter. Laws change…
As kids we used rifles in the public reserves. Among other things, troublesome magpies were taken out of play. Normal then, criminal now. Laws change…
Indonesian abattoirs handled slaughter of animals a certain way. These days? Laws change…
Time was when prostitution, abortion and homosexual acts were criminal actions. Now most western countries have made decisions removing criminality and legislating legitimacy. Laws change…
It was once legal to use asbestos in building and mechanical products. It is now illegal to do so, and is rightly regarded as a danger to human health. Laws change…
There are many other examples. Smoking, seatbelts, drink-driving, whaling and fishing-licences are some that come to mind. Laws change…

The Law of the Lord God Almighty does not change…
Here is what Jesus Christ said about the Lord God's Law during his first public sermon:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.” Matt 5:17-18 NRSV
Tough, tough talk, but it had a purpose. Here is what Paul the Apostle wrote after deep reflection:
“Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.” Romans 3:19 NRSV
Again, tough, tough, tough.  Under the law we are accountable. Put yourself under the law and trust in ‘your best effort’? You won’t live by the law… you’ll die by the law! Perhaps one of the strongest (harshest?) statements of Paul is that “…all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse…” Galatians 3:10 NRSV

For goodness sake, Fred, how can there be hope? Is there hope? Yes, yes, yes, and a thousand times, YES! The divine law never changes but there is a way and a time when it no longer applies.
Truly? Yep! Here is Paul again:
“…the law was in charge of us until Christ came, in order that we might be put right with God through faith. Now that the time for faith is here, the law is no longer in charge of us.” Galatians 3:24-25 TEV
Can you believe that? The law remains the same and it curses us because there’s nothing in us to escape its relentless accusation. Then, lo, a miracle! Out of the blue (though the Lord planned it in eternity) we come to know and believe that Christ ‘became the curse’ on our behalf. We are ‘in Christ’ by faith and therefore dead to law and therefore dead to its demands, and its accusations and condemnations.
For all the world it is as if we have shifted galaxies when we hear the Word of the Cross and believe. As Paul has it, ‘… you are not under law but under grace’. Romans 6:14 NRSV We came to faith by the Holy  Spirit. We continue to believe and trust, daily, by that Spirit. We love, can love, are free to love, as Jesus Christ first loved us, by the power of that same Holy Spirit.
Bless the God of Grace. Worship and adore him. Praise his name. Celebrate forgiveness and life. Honour Jesus the Christ in all things. Rejoice in the fact that you are loved by the Heavenly Father, that you are covered by an unbreakable promise and belong to an unshakeable kingdom. And then…
“Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh… if you are led by the Spirit you are not subject to the law… If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.” Galatians 5:16,18,25 NRSV


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