Have you ever read the story, "A Crack in the Track?" Well, my kiddos love this story, so it's one we get to read often around our house. Thomas the train felt that a train could do anything. He learned, however, that life doesn't always work that way.
Along his "route" that day, a terrible storm hit, which cracked the track that Thomas was travelling on. He couldn't back up because there others on the track behind him and he couldn't go forward because the track was broken. He was stuck on his own track. As I was reading this story the other night, the thought occurred to me that Thomas' delimma is not unlike our lives in so many ways!
How often do we think that we can accomplish things through our own abilities? Thomas learned, in the end, that a "train is only as good as it's track." The same is so very true for us! We can accomplish nothing in and of ourselves...our success in life is fully dependent upon the track that we're travelling on.
In our lives, there are two tracks...the one we build for ourselves and the one that God builds for us. If we attempt to build our track ourselves, the track will most likely end up very twisted and broken, for track building is not our purpose. Our purpose is simply to travel along our track , wherever it may lead. The track building should always be left up to the professionals who know what they're doing. As believers, God should be our track builder.
For those of us who already know the Messiah (we've been saved through faith), we're faced with the question of, "I'm saved...so now what?" What are we to do on this faith journey, this new track that God Himself has built for us? Once we're saved, we have the high calling of being a disciple, but what does that mean? Where does this track lead?
The Bible tells us in Romans 6:22 that we are are now "...freed from sin and enslaved to God, you do get the benefit — it consists in being made holy, set apart for God, and its end result is eternal life." God has set us apart to walk in holiness. So, how do we do that? If we are truly free from sin, we must allow our outer man to mirror our inner man and cast off this sin outwardly as well. 1 John 3:4 says, "Whoever commits sin transgresses the law, for sin is transgression of the law." God set Israel apart by taking her out of Egypt so that she would be free to serve God alone, and then He gave her the law to allow her to live as the set apart nation that He had made her. In Romans, we learn that we are set apart as well, as a holy people unto God. Then in 1 John we learn that we are to cast of our sins the same as Israel was told to do, by turning from transgression of the law. This is the track God has given us to lead set apart lives.
Matthew 7:12-14 says, "Therefore all things, whatever you desire that men should do to you, do even so to them; for this is the Law and the Prophets. Go in through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who go in through it. Because narrow is the gate and constricted is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." God's track will lead you there!
Aren't we taught in many congregations that this "law" is done away with? In Matthew 5:17-19, Jesus specifically says, "Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to destroy but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, till the heaven and the earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle shall in any way pass from the Law until all is fulfilled. Therefore whoever shall relax one of these commandments, the least, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of Heaven. But whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven." The "fulfill" here can also mean "to complete, fill up, or fully preach." The "law" that this is referring to is the Old Testament law, also known in Hebrew as the Torah. Torah means "instruction." Jesus came to fully preach God's instructions to His people! Heaven and earth have not yet passed away just as God's Word has not passed away!
Many teachers say that we are no longer under the law. And right they are...we are not under the condemnation of the law, that curse of the law, which is eternal separation from our Father in heaven. Jesus drew us near through His sacrifice and we no longer have to be separated, for He is our Passover Lamb! We are not under the law, but we should not exalt ourselves above it, either. We are to line ourselves up with God's instructions for our lives and, "Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matt. 5:48) In this manner, we submit our lives to God as His slaves as Romans 6:22 teaches. There is only One who is above the law and that is it's Creator, our Creator. Even He, in human form, fully submitted Himself to this law in order that He would be the sinless sacrifice. Remember, in 1 John we learned that sin is "transgression of the law."
Belief alone is not enough, for "even the demons believe and tremble." (James 2:19) "But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" (James 2:20) A saving faith spurs us on to walking as Jesus walked. He led the way in rejecting lawlesness and we as His disciples, are called to follow His track, for His is the track to life. Salvation isn't just moment in time where our train jumps off it's track onto a new one. Salvation is also travelling down that new track until we reach the end of it, that great and glorious reward!
Now all this talk of "law" seems very daunting. Keep in mind that this is not a track that we conquer all in one moment...it takes a lifetime. The point is that we are on this track. A lifetime of baby steps, crawling along God's track and learning how to live in righteousness, because this is an entirely new track for us to be on! But with Jesus our Messiah leading the way, and God's Spirit living in us, we are well on our way. May we follow God's track and learn a little lesson from our sweet blue friend, Thomas, that a "train is only as good as it's track."