By the Law because of Faith.

The early Christians struggled with understanding the functions of faith and the law.  The law was impossible to keep, perfectly. (Romans 3:10-12) The requirements for making up their lack included sacrifices of time, food, effort and animals. No matter the sacrifice, people could not undue the sin and evil they had perpetrated. It would always be a marking stain on their life. Consequences would always have the potential to separate, eternally those who sin, from God. (Romans 3:19) Once Jesus accomplished the ultimate sacrifice and resurrection, the sacrifices and rituals were no longer necessary.(Romans 3:24-25)

Several of the disciples wrestled with these changes. They understood that Jesus is the only sacrifice required to make the heart and soul right with God, for eternity. 

But now what? What about all the religious laws, rules and rituals? Do any of them matter? Which ones matter, and why? Can you even imagine, what a fantastic and confusing time this was for the person that just desired nothing more than to be close to God?

I think that all these questions and confusion are still prevalent, today. I know this is true, because people who give their life to Christ following long periods of time in any denomination, have these same thoughts. They practiced worship, rituals and tried to obey rules but did not personally know Christ. So all that is not essential to a relationship with God or is it? 

The good news of the gospel is that Jesus is the only key to a relationship with God. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees because they had the employee handbook, the company manual, but they were not employees. They did not have the key. God made a way for us to forego all the work of sacrifice to be right with Him. God wants us to put all that effort of sacrificing into obedience and spreading the news. So pretty much God is telling us, “My Son will take the stain of all your sin and make you holy so you can do those things that please Me and bring My love to others.” (Romans 5:1; Colossians 2:13-14)

How does this pertain to the law? The Ten Commandments were given to the covenant people of God. As long as they were obedient things went fairly well. This obedience couldn’t be from top down. Although leadership definitely influenced the people’s perseverance. Obedience to love God and have no other gods had to be an individual decision, same with all the other 8 laws. (Exodus 20:1-17) These very basic 10 proved impossible for human kind to keep. However, there were a lot more laws if we just keep reading. All these other laws, rules and rituals had more to do with all that must be done as restoration for breaking any of the 10. There is nothing in these 10 commands that will harm us or make us unsafe. In fact, the power to practice them is gifted to us when we except the key. 

Once we have this key, we can easily access the courage and power we need to please God. We want to please Him because we have freedom and peace from the guilt of not being able to keep the law, perfectly. Our desires change when we give ourself to Jesus. We want to know God, so His Word becomes important to us. A well worn Bible is comforting and the stories there are fascinating. (Colossians 3:2-3) We find ourselves praying and quietly listening for a still, small voice. 

Do you know my Jesus? Have you ever wondered these things? In this world of trouble, do you have peace that passes all understanding? Do you have joy? Are you anxious to study the Bible and whisper praise almost unconsciously? (1 Thessalonians 2:13)  Do you have an urge to share goodness? Do you feel generosity and compassion for others? Not the kind that feeds them for a day or gets them a job, but the kind that influences every aspect of their life with goodness?

God knows the heart. If sometime in your past you have prayed “the prayer” or been baptized, but you don’t have or experience the things mentioned, check your motivation. Repentance for forgiveness through Jesus, is the only key to all of this. (1 Timothy 1:8) Only He can make it your desire to be holy. Only He can love you perfectly, and fill the longing in your soul. (1 Timothy 1:11) Only Faith in Jesus will bring us power to live by the law. 

Mickey Kyler 19 0716

Michele Baranski

 

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