The Leaning Tower of Pisa is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Why? The foundation upon which it was built was not strong or solid enough to support the weight of the tower, causing it to tilt more than 17 feet off center over the centuries.
The same phenomenon can be true in the life of believers. When the foundation is not strong or solid enough to support the weight of living the Christian life, it will be reflected in an off-kilter life that veers markedly away from biblical teaching.
So how do we know when we are leaning? The answer is found in God’s plumb line—His inspired, inerrant, infallible Word. In biblical times, when a builder wanted to determine whether or not something was perfectly vertical (upright), he used a plumb line (a weight of some sort attached to the bottom of a string or line). When you want to determine whether or not someone is perfectly upright you use The Lord’s plumb line—the Bible—the unfailing standard of total Truth.
This is what he showed me: behold, the Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand. And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said, “Behold, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel; I will never again pass by them; the high places of Isaac shall be made desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste, and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.” (Amos 7:7-9)
Israel was judged against the perfect Word of God, and they were found wanting. In the very same way, we were being judged against the perfect Word of God and found wanting . . . until Jesus showed up.
From womb to tomb, Jesus fulfilled the Law perfectly. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets,” He said; “I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). The only One who could measure up to God’s Plumb Line was God Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ. He went to Golgotha’s Hill as the perfect sacrifice to make full payment for all our sins.
Here is an astounding truth: all those who, by faith, are in Christ are now like a straight wall—true to plumb. When God looks at us, He sees only the perfection of His Son, in spite of all of our myriad imperfections! Our lives can be so far out of whack that we make the Leaning Tower of Pisa look straight, but God only sees us upright in Christ. “See, I have taken away your sin,” the Lord said to Joshua the high priest, “and I will put rich garments on you.” (Zechariah 3:4 NIV).
Herein lies the power of the Gospel to propel us into living the life God has called us to live. Jesus came and lived the sinless life, perfectly fulfilling the law of God. He turned aside the wrath of God by taking our sins upon Himself and nailing them to the cross. “Therefore,” because of what Jesus has done for sinners, “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). The Law was designed to drive us to Jesus, and in Him we are forever secured in our relationship with the Father regardless of how well or how poorly we are observing the precepts of the Law.
We will always have two choices when it comes to building into the Kingdom of God. We can build in our strength or we can build in His strength. We can build by good works or we can build by His grace. We can build on merit or we can build on His mercy. To be sure, Jesus is the better builder, because He has never built anything crooked!
Jesus is making straight everything that is crooked . . . and that includes you and me. We know that a yawning chasm lies between us and God’s perfect plumb line because we are sinners—by birth, by nature, and by habit (Romans 3:10-12). Yet Jesus was measured against God’s exacting standard, and He was not found wanting. And because of Him you are will never again be found wanting. You are forever plumb because of His perfection.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!