Do you follow the all rules of the road when driving? If so, do you follow them all the time? or only when a police officer is around? Can I be honest? I don’t. I know I should, but as the ride progresses, my speed increases; when there is no one on the road I don’t come to a full and complete stop; when no one is around to see, I don’t always use my turn signal. And if I am really honest, my hands are seldom both on the steering wheel at the same time, much less 10 and 2. How about you?
My last few posts have dealt with rules. We have rules in our homes and God has rules for His people. Rules help society to function. Yet, with all this, I often hear that Jesus did away with God’s rules. This is very puzzling, because Jesus is God’s Son, the perfect representation of the Father. Why would the Father be happy His rules are ignored, or be pleased with His Son breaking the rules? I know I sure didn’t put a smile on my dad’s face when I would leave a room with the light on. No, he’d get frustrated and ask if I thought he worked for the power company!
So I had to take a serious look at this discrepancy in scripture, because as a follower of Jesus, I want to live my life the way He wants me to live. Not only that, but how could Jesus be the Son of God, the Messiah, if He was not completely obedient to His Father’s rules and taught His followers to be disobedient? And wouldn’t you know that as I read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, I saw that not only did he not do away with the rules, but He raised the standard of obeying them!
For instance, He taught that not only shouldn’t we murder, but carrying around hatred is the same as murder; not only shouldn’t we commit adultery, but just contemplating it is the same thing. There are a lot more examples of this, but the real kicker for me was when He said, “be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
Perfect? That’s a tall order! Think about it in terms of driving. It means never going over the speed limit by even a fraction of one mile per hour. I don’t know about you, but I’m sunk when perfection is the expectation.
So what is the alternative? Should God send His Son to do away with His standard of righteousness because I can’t live up to His expectation? No! And that’s the good news of the New Covenant. Through the perfect obedience of His Son, God made it possible to give me His Spirit, so that I can walk as Jesus walked, and live as Jesus lived, as long as I die to self and yield my will to Him.
The rules of the road didn’t change. No, it is the driver behind the wheel that was changed.
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