Moonshine Over Wine

June 5, 2010


Here, in the South, you can’t go a lifetime without having some experience related to moonshine.  Maybe, thinking about it, causes a little psychosomatic headache to start.  Others, maybe you think back fondly about some outlaw family members (or current ones).  Still, others, perhaps the mere mention of that clear stuff brings back memories so dark they bring on a cold sweat and a quick look over the shoulder.  Don’t worry, no one notices.

Anyone familiar with moonshine culture knows it’s joined hip to hip with the law: you’re breaking it while you’re making it, and you’re breaking it while you’re drinking it.  If it makes you nervous thinking about it, relax, I’m not here to force any on you.  If you’re starting to get thirsty, though, perhaps you need a little help. 

Be that as it may, though, for my purposes, I’m just going to use moonshine as a metaphor.  It seems that, like the moonshiner, we Christians know something about the law, too, as breaking the law seems to run in our family as well.  And like as we try to hide the evidence of our sins, know this, the great regulator, Satan, will find our mash pots for sure.

But, of course, isn’t that the matter of the problem.  We may try to operate in secret, but surely, soon enough, the moonshine has got to come out and be set on the table.  Soon enough, no matter how we cover our tracks, our neighbor’s going to know who we’re running with.  No matter how we paint our face eventually our true selves show forth.  As you walk by the moonshiner’s front porch he may smile and wave, but sure as the day is long he’s got a jug of hooch behind his chair.  So, regardless of what you may think, there ain’t no covering up.  As soon as you think you’re acting right, the regulator is right around the corner.

There are only two ways we can attempt to be right before God.  One is by what we consider to be pleasing to Him and the other is by what God has determined to be appropriate.  One is absolutely right and one is absolutely wrong.  You see, if we are the sole reference point, if we are the sole arbitrator of our own goodness, then we’re doomed to run in circles.  Our best intentions to be right before God are relative only to how we think our own goodness should be.  But here’s the kicker, not only is everyone different and, therefore, with many different definitions of the word good, but according to God’s Word none of us are any good anyways.  We are dead in our trespasses and sins.  Our bones are as dry as a Sailor’s tongue on Sunday afternoon.

So what does that leave us?  It leaves the new wine, as it were; the shed blood of Christ that can cover our multitude of sins.  Our election is by God’s sovereign Grace alone.  We were once dead, but He chose to save us and make us alive unto Christ.  And now that we’re alive, the only way we’re perfected is by the work of the Holy Spirit.  You see, even while we are in Christ, we are still in our body of death.  We are still sinners even after Christ has called and saved us.  Our goodness doesn’t come from keeping the law or doing certain things we think are good,… like passing on that next round of shine while our friends are drinking it down.  No, the Bible says all our good works (again, it’s talking about what we think is good) are as filthy as dirty rags.  Anything that comes out of us that isn’t dung is because of Christ.  That’s why we are to be dead to ourselves and alive to Christ. 

But, sadly, too many people run around and choose moonshine over wine.  They busy themselves with the thought of goodness and give themselves much to do in the process.  God won’t see our “goodness” only our relationship.  And I tell you, when the role is called up yonder you had better be covered in wine.  If you’re drenched in shine you’ll just get lit on fire. 

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