Obedience

Some religious traditions say it’s impossible to fulfill the law. And they’re right, from the perspective of human merit which proves its goodness to God, for “nobody’s perfect,” as so many like to say. But the lack of perfection doesn’t mean it’s impossible to obey the law.

Do not speak against one another, brothers and sisters. He who speaks against a fellow believer or judges a fellow believer speaks against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but its judge.
James 4:11 NET

James expects Christians to be doers of the law. “Your job is to obey the law,” as the NLT puts it so well. This is the language he uses, without feeling any shame or apologizing for his phrasing. Continue reading

We have two options: either we prove to God our own goodness, or we accept his grace through the faithfulness of Christ. Human goodness is a fiction that many adopt.

I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.
Galatians 2:21 NLT

The fight that Paul takes on in Galatians is this. People wanted to use Moses’ law as a means to establish their own righteousness. They said they could be right with God through the law. They insisted with the Galatian Christians that the way to get to God was through the law, because they had made it into a system of meritorious works.

Paul categorically denies this possibility. Such a fiction negates the necessity for Christ’s death.

Perhaps few today use Moses’ law for self-righteousness, but many use other systems of merit to declare themselves good and to recommend themselves to God. Because of this, the letter to the Galatians continues to be applicable, even more so today, if that’s possible.

For one of the greatest barriers to the gospel is the thought that one’s own goodness excludes the need for Christ’s purifying blood.

MotivationsTruth without sincerity is at the mercy of wickedness. Sincerity without truth wanders without direction, driven by personal desires of the moment. In the first case, we have a sad example in the Pharisees’ attack on Jesus.

Then the Pharisees went out and planned together to entrap him with his own words. They sent to him their disciples along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are truthful, and teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You do not court anyone’s favor because you show no partiality.
Matthew 22:15-16 NET

What they said was true, but they lacked sincerity. In this case, truth becomes an instrument of evil. Spiritual motivations are fundamental to the correct use of the truth.

The same abuse of truth is seen today, at times, among God’s people, when someone wants to grab power and wield influence.

In order that the truth might be liberating, a spiritual tool in the kingdom of God, we must repent of our ambitions and place each act and thought under the command of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The truth itself must be set free of our impure motives.

Trust in GodNobody likes to arrive in last place. But the one who appears in life to be in front may wind up, in God’s eyes, in last place.

Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
Matthew 10:4 NET

The list of apostles in Matthew 10 is divided by pairs, evidently reflecting their sending by twos, in the limited commission. In the gospels Judas appears in last place and always with the identification of being the Lord’s betrayer. Continue reading

GodToday we have machines like the radar and X-ray that give us a vision of what is otherwise hidden from us. We can see what normally we’d not have the capability to analyze. Still, only one can look into the thoughts and intentions of the human heart.

End the evil of those who are wicked,
and defend the righteous.
For you look deep within the mind and heart,
O righteous God.
Psalm 7:9 NLT

God sees into our depths with complete knowledge of each person. Nothing escapes his eye.

In our wickedness, we think he will see our justifications and struggles and therefore will excuse our sin. Each one justifies himself in his own eyes, but the righteous before God are those who do his will.

Let us therefore take care before making this prayer above our supplication.