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Making it Straight

Updated on May 15, 2013
BlossomSB profile image

Bronwen was a teacher for over forty years. Degrees include School Librarianship, Psycholinguistics and Theology, and Applied Linguistics.

Set Square for Getting it Straight
Set Square for Getting it Straight | Source

Getting it Straight

Before he followed his brothers and migrated to Australia my Cornish Grandfather did an apprenticeship, or, as he put it, 'served his time,' at the Plymouth Dockyards as a cabinet maker. He loved to read and when the 1881 census was taken he was living back at home in Par. A favourite book, published in 1876, was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, so, as his name was Tom, with typical Cornish humour he told the census-takers that his occupation was Sawyer.

Grandpa arrived in Queenscliff, Victoria, on 26th February, 1884, reached Melbourne on 27th and had found work by the 29th. He worked at night to improve himself, studying mathematics in the evenings at the Working Man's Institute and then architecture at the North Melbourne School of Art, gaining second prize in 1888. In 1889, at the age of twenty-seven, he married.

As a small child I learned to love the smell of different woods in Grandpa's workshop and to handle some of his tools. He also learned so much of the Bible by heart and would recite to me whole chapters. He was very concerned about my getting straight just what life was all about.

Finding the Right Angle
Finding the Right Angle | Source

St. Paul and the Right Angle

By the time I was four, Grandpa had taught me to recite the Ten Commandments (Deut. 5.7-21). They are the basis of much of the law of many countries, but Paul saw them from a different angle. He pointed out to the Galatians (3.10) that we cannot be saved by the law, but only condemned by it. In Deuteronomy (27-28) We read many more laws and of the curses that come upon us if we do not keep them, and yet that is impossible.

Jesus quoted Deuteronomy more than any other book of the Old Testament Scriptures. He warned that we break the law, not only by our actions, but also by our thoughts.

  • Do we worship God alone? What about our favourite film-star or football player?
  • We may not commit adultery in action, but what about in our thoughts?
  • Do we see a neighbour with the latest ipad or technology gadget and wish so much that it were ours? That is coveting.

How then, can we align our living to the right angle? Habakkuk (2.4) wrote that righteousness cannot be achieved through the law, it can only be by living our faith.

Keeping it Straight
Keeping it Straight | Source

Righteousness and Justification

Righteousness and justification are long, very 'churchy' sort of words, but they are important steps in the process of achieving our salvation. I read recently of a church claiming to be Bible-centred, but I wondered: should they really be aiming to be Christ centred?

  • Justification: When I learned typing - the old way, with a typewriter - we were taught how to justify our work so that the line of print made a straight edge on both sides. If we are to be justified with our Almighty God, we need to be absolutely straight. Doing this by ourselves is impossible. In Biblical terms, this means that we need to be in a perfect relationship with God.
  • Righteousness: In Psalm 143.2, David wrote that 'no one living is righteous before you.' God is perfect, and we certainly are not. Can we achieve righteousness by being morally good, by doing good works, helping other people, attending church and supporting charities? NO! Salvation just doesn't work that way. Righteousness is being morally right and without sin.

Paul wrote (Gal. 2.16) that the only way we can be justified and made righteous, straight with God, is through faith in Jesus Christ. God justifies those who trust in Him through Jesus. It is only through God's grace, his unmerited favour, that we can accept His free gift of salvation through our faith in Jesus. It is a gift, not something that we can earn.

When we accept this gift we can receive God's forgiveness, find release from our crookedness and guilt and be made righteous and justified. Then we can establish a true relationship with our God who is so straight, pure and holy. As Grandpa would have said, "That's what real life is all about."

How Do I Measure Up?
How Do I Measure Up? | Source

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    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Are you a Mason? This is a lesson of the square and compass.

    • profile image

      JThomp42 4 years ago

      Amen Blossom! Amen!!

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      Blossom wonderful write.. its like a history lesson with a squares and compass. lol love it.. .. many blessings

      Debbie

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      How precious that you have the memory of your grandfather's concern and care for your eternity! Thank you for sharing important truth in the context of his life.

      Churches may state their Christ-centered focus as a way to point out that their worship and studies are not man-centered, perhaps as a way, too, to point out that Christ is the theme of God's Word from Genesis to Revelation. Ephesians, for instance, tells us of what God is doing through Christ in this world and its themes come from the rest of His Word. I've seen that some churches announce that they are Word centered for these same reasons.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      You make a very important point,Blossom. We have to get it straight in our thinking in order to get it straight in our attitude and actions. Thanks for emphasizing that.

    • mackyi profile image

      I.W. McFarlane 4 years ago from Philadelphia

      This is a brief, but well put together bible study Blossom :-). I must say this is very interesting. God bless.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      Blossom you yourself have become a tool.. no wait that didnt sound right.. I mean getting us to realize what we all take for granted. a helpful tool you've become.. I like the introduction to making it straight.. we all need to make it right get it straight... we are all carpenters in God's Garden of life..yeah? Or corney? LOL great share

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Blossom,

      Your Grandpa was a very wise man to teach you such things at such a very young age. You are very blessed to have had him. Yes, we must take care to not worship idols, covet and the such, but we do so without even really thinking about what we are actually doing.

      Really good lesson here. Thank you.

      Voted up +++ and sharing

      God bless, Faith Reaper

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Mhatter99: No, but my Dad and both my grandfathers were. Perhaps it rubbed off, but I rather think it was the carpentry angle.

      JThomp42: Thank you and God bless you.

      Deborah Brooks: So glad that you enjoyed it, and many blessings to you, too, dear Debbie.

      RTalloni: Yes, that grandpa died when I was only four and a half, but he's had so much influence on my thinking all through my life. You're right, I should not have commented on a church's orientation, both are on the right track.

      MsDora: Yes, that is so important. The way we think will show in our attitude, our actions and our words.

      mackyi: Thank you. I'm glad you found it interesting, there is so much to be found in the Bible that we need to ponder on and take to heart.

      Frank Atanacio: No, not corny at all, just a great picture for us to conjure up. Thank you so much for your lovely and affirming comments.

      Faith Reaper: My Grandpa was really quite a humble man, but he certainly had his priorities right, and you are right, we often act without thinking about it at all. I sometimes think that my motto must be 'act first, think later,' and then wonder why I did something! God bless you and thank you for your comments.

    • Tamarajo profile image

      Tamarajo 4 years ago from Southern Minnesota

      Well presented message of grace by faith alone. Your examples of how we transgress in probably daily and practical ways helps us see how in need we are to lean on His grace daily.

      I would love to be like your grandfather and someday be able to recite chapters. His Word and truth really are that wonderful. What an inspiring legacy along with the lessons from his life your grandfather left you.

      An insightful read.

    • FSlovenec profile image

      Frank Slovenec 3 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Well done...we are only righteous under the blood of Jesus, Jesus is righteous, when the Father sees us He sees Jesus..Spirit Led, loving the Lord always

    • Marsha Musselman1 profile image

      Marsha Musselman 3 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Again, excellent hub. I commend you for sharing your faith and the insights you have on a Christ centered life. Like you said, many don't realize that sin isn't only the outward manifestation of error, but thoughts regarding those situations are considered sin as well.

      By way of Jesus Christ, God has made us righteous, justified, sanctified (set apart from the world), redeemed (bought back) and we also have the ministry of reconciliation.

      Romans 5:18

      I Corinthians 1:30

      II Corinthians 5:18

      (I had forgotten. I thought all of them were listed together.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Tamarajo: Thank you for your comments and my apology for not responding before. I would like to be like my grandfather, too, he was a humble person but a man of God and although he died when I was quite young I've never forgotten the lessons he taught me.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      FSlovenec: Thank you - what a lovely comment and I've only just seen it after all this time. God bless you.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Marsha Musselman1: Thank you for your lovely comments and for those references - they are very useful. Sorry I did not see them before.

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