Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

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Written by Peter Langbroek
Outside the ski area there was a thunderous noise of crashing snow. Trees cracked and boulders rolled, all within seconds. The terrible news is that one snowboarder died and another was missing. The snowboarders had tried to outrun the avalanche on February 15, 1999, down the side of Mt. Shuksan outside the boundary of the Mount Baker Ski Area.

This is common news every winter for me to read or hear. I'm surrounded by mountains, here in the Fraser Valley, British Columbia. In fact, I can see Mt. Baker from my place. What's striking about such news of lost, killed, or injured skiers is that in almost all of these cases, the skiers had skied out of the bounds of the ski areas. These boundaries were clearly marked, usually with bright orange, criss-cross fences. Thousands of dollars, every year, are spent to search and rescue these skiers.

Such news reminds me of sin. In fact, one word for sin-- trespass--means to go outside the boundaries. It means to fall beside or a false step. When skiers or snowboarders step over the well-marked fences, they break their trust with the ski resort to stay within bounds. The teachings and demands of God are clearly marked. The knowledge of God and the knowledge of good and evil are written in our hearts and consciences. Furthermore, for us, we hear and learn God's Word where God and His demands are explained more clearly. So no one has any excuse.

Ski resorts have clearly set the boundaries according to what is safe for a skier or snowboarder to ski on. The out-of-bounds are those areas that lead the skier or snowboarder away from rather than to the ski village. Those areas out-of-bounds are also the areas that are too steep or dangerous and are most prone to avalanches.

This fact reminds us that God's boundaries taught in the Ten Commandments are designed for our well being. To trespass is to face the dangers and consequences of sin.

What's striking, too, is why anyone would want to ski out of bounds. The ski runs within the boundaries are very large and the choices are many. There is plenty of freedom and there are a lot challenges within the bounds. The trails are well marked and clearly explained. You can even get a map of all of the runs before you ski.

God's law is like that. Don't be deceived by a great lie. God's law is not too strict. It is not a killjoy to pleasure. To think of God as a strangling taskmaster is blasphemy. No!

The law is liberating and it brings joy to all who think and live according to it. Psalm 119 is a psalm that expresses this fact very well. The Psalmist exclaimed: "Thy commandment is exceedingly broad. O how love I Thy law! It is my meditation all the dayÓ (Psalm 119: 97).

God's law is exhilarating: "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievousÓ (I John 5: 3).

To me, skiing is a sport I thoroughly enjoy. It reminds me of friends, fresh air, freedom, and energy. So the law is God's path for us to enjoy and obey.

To live outside of His bounds is to trespass. Yes, all of us have trespassed and are in need of deliverance through the perfect Law-Abider, the Lord Jesus Christ, who bore the wrath to deliver all His people who have trespassed. Even the psalmist of Psalm 119, who delighted in God's law, ended with these words: "I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandmentsÓ (vs.176).

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