The Gospel

The Gospel

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Convictions of a Pastor - Part 2

I think that Andrew Peterson might be one of the most creative and distinct artists around.  His album "Behold The Lamb of God" might be the best Christmas album I have ever heard that captures the true redemptive, gospel story.  I listen to him often. 

I have just recently started to listen to another one of his CD's - Counting Stars.  One song that has really hit home is the song "Fool With A Fancy Guitar".  Now, I don't play the guitar or any other musical instrument for that matter.  But the description "fool" has fit me on more than one occasion - perhaps some of you can relate.

You can listen to it here.  Here are the lyrics - It’s so easy to cash in these chips on my shoulder
So easy to loose this old tongue like a tiger It’s easy to let all this bitterness smolder Just to hide it away like a cigarette lighter; It’s easy to curse and to hurt and to hinder; It’s easy to not have the heart to remember
That I am a priest and a prince in the Kingdom of God

I’ve got voices that scream in my head like a siren Fears that I feel in the night when I sleep; Stupid choices I made when I played in the mire; Like a kid in the mud on some dirty blind street; I’ve got sorrow to spare, I’ve got loneliness too; I’ve got blood on these hands that hold on to the truth;
That I am a priest and a prince in the Kingdom of God

I swore on the Bible to not tell a lie But I’ve lied and lied;
And I’ve crossed my heart and I hoped to die And I’ve died and died

But if it’s true that you gathered my sin in your hand And you cast it as far as the east from the west
If it’s true that you put on the flesh of a man And you walked in my shoes through the shadow of death

If it’s true that you dwell in the halls of my heart Then I’m not just a fool with a fancy guitar
No, I am a priest and a prince in the Kingdom of God

I love how Andrew puts to words what most of our lives look like - I know certainly my life looks like this.  The Christian life is a constant struggle against temptation and sin.  Those that say they don't struggle with sin or temptation must be superhuman.  The Bible says that we are in a war - raging against the principalities of darkness.  It is true that Jesus struck a death blow to Sin and death and Satan, yet we still see all around us that sin is still here and until Jesus returns we will be faced against it. 

I struggle with anger - with a quick tongue that likes to lash out occasionally - and letting go of hurts - probably if we admit it, most of us do.  Yet, Andrew reminds us what Jesus has already said - that we are a priest and a prince in the Kingdom of God.  We are at the same time both marred by the presence of sin and yet uniquely set apart by God and saved for a purpose.  I heard my pastor (that sounds funny) say recently that it is only in the gospel that we can be more (evil and exposed) and yet completely loved at the exact same time. 

Those first two verses are convicting.  I forget who I am.  I am sort of like Simba in the Lion King - I am a prince but I am running around acting like a vagabond.  If the song stopped there, I might walk away depressed, feeling completely exposed, unworthy, and hopeless. 

And yet, Andrew closes with Hope (That is what the gospel does).  He says that "if it is true that you gathered my sin in your hand and you cast it as far as the east from the west..."  Even though I struggle with sin that is not fitting for a priest and a prince, Jesus Christ, in his death and resurrection, has already dealt with those sins for me.  I am free - free to live, obey, love and follow Jesus. 

The Christian life is a daily battle against sin. It is much like the battle of an alcoholic - you are only somber for the next 24 hours, then you start all over again.  I can only strive for one day to obey Chist - then I start all over again, day after day after day. 

Sometimes I forget who I really am.  It is true that I am a worthless sinner.  It is true that I was an enemy of God, a child of the devil.  But in Christ I am a sinner saved by grace, I am an adopted son and brother of Christ.  He has called me friend.  What a hope!?!  What a Gospel!

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The Outpost - Bible Preaching (Brooke Taylor)