Thursday, November 16, 2006

My Hope

We've been working with the boys on memorizing the Ten Commandments and talking about what they mean. And with that, I'm thinking today about how Jesus summed up God's Law. Mark 12:28-31 "Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, 'Which is the first commandment of all?' Jesus answered him, 'The first of all the commandments is: "Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." There is no other commandment greater than these.'"

When I really start thinking about what it means to love the LORD our God with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind and all my strength, I begin to see how very far short I fall. And then when I think about loving my neighbor as myself, I see what a selfish person I really am. I say a lot on here about living a godly life, but I find myself in the day-to-day of things falling so short of where I want to be. It seems like I can believe right, but it's so hard to have my actions follow what I believe. I want to live what I believe. It's so easy to get caught up in whining, in laziness, in just plain old selfishness. We watched a video series one time that talked about God's glory. And one point that really struck me was that sin is more subtle than we think it is. It is ultimately doing anything for any motive other than God's glory. Even good things we may do if done with any motive other than glorifying God are sinful. Even my righteousness is as filthy rags. I have absolutely nothing to offer Him on my own. When you begin to think in this way, you see how very deep our fallenness goes. Jesus alone was able to live a life completely and without question focused on God's glory. He did what none of us are able to do. What a savior! To come and be born in obscurity, take on flesh, live among us, walk among us, experience life among us, and to live as totally other than we are. And the world hated Him for it. To live a life untainted by sin and completely in submission to the Father's will, to the point that He died on a cruel cross to pay the penalty for my sin. He paid the ransom for my very depravity. He took on all my shame and selfishness and sin. And the Father accepted the sacrifice and the work is finished. All my hope rests in Christ.

I've also been reading 2 Peter over that past two days, and I'm struck with how timely the warnings against false teaching are even today. Too much of modern teaching reduces the Gospel to a feel-good message without mention or understanding of repentance. It's more about having a fulfilled life than it is about being made right with the holy God. Praise Him that since He's restored my life, I have peace, but it's really not about all the Western angst and whining we hear about from so many of the fad preaching today. I've also been reading Ezekiel and it's kind of frightening when you read the description of the vision of God's glory that the prophet had and when he describes the glory of God leaving the temple. This is the God we worship. And the amazing thing about grace is that He in all His holiness did not just leave us in the stink of our sin, but provided a way to be cleansed. Not only did He provide the way, but He IS the way. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me!

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