Pastor's Blog

Wash Me Savior....Or I Die? Posted 10.22.2015

Do we really believe Augustus Toplady in “Rock of Ages”?  “Wash me Savior, or I die.”  Really?  But do slip back into works righteousness as I live for Jesus?  Probably. 


It was Tuesday night and I was headed Beacon Light in Wilmington.  Our church serves there once a month and I preach every couple of months.  It was my turn, so I left home and headed up the hill.  And then it happened.  I caught a glimpse of a parked black and white car.  It even had lights on the roof and I knew instantly, the sheriff was looking to catch speeders.


I slowed instinctively to make sure I’d avoid a ticket in a residential zone.  As I made my way past the police, my mind was racing.  What was I going to say to the officer when he (or she) pulled me over for speeding?


I began to create my defense, which would be eloquent and convincing.  I could relate to him where I was headed.  Hey, I’m one of the good guys, on my way to preach hope to some folks without much hope.  I serve God among the homeless.  See, I’m not a bad person, just trying to help the community in any way I can.  Oh, yes, officer, I’m a pastor.  Holy.  Kind.  Always looking for ways to serve others.  I’m a good guy. Oh, the tale I could weave to exonerate myself.


As I passed the car I waited for the lights to start flashing.  But…I do such good things, officer. My goodness ought to trump this minor infraction.  Certainly I don’t really deserve a ticket because I’m on my way to preach.  After I passed the car, I glanced down at my speedometer for the first time.  How fast was I going, anyway?  How bad was this going to be?  No matter what it said, my defense, based on my good character, was still being formed in my mind.  Of course, if I was speeding, what does that say about my character?


Well, I was going 27 mph.  27.  The parked car didn’t budge.  No lights went on.  And I made sure that I never got above 25 the rest of the way up the hill (which is not all that hard to do).  Soon I was into an S curve and out of the line of sight for that officer.


I was so guilty.  Not of speeding, but of living life based on works.  I was humbled because I went straight into a defense mode, based on “my righteousness.”  What a fool.  If I’m guilty, I deserve a ticket.  But even deeper, is that my reaction to God?  I do good stuff so He must love me.  I’m not that bad so He has to care for me.  I sacrifice so He likes me. So if I do good stuff I can claim the grace of God?  I give so He gives?  I have done nothing good enough to merit the grace of God.


Toplady says it best, “Not the labor of my hands can fulfill Thy law’s demands.  Thou must save, and Thou alone.”  And as I have received Christ, so must I live with Christ.


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