How simple life would be, it seems, if there were a rule book, and we could follow the rules and everything would work out fine.
Or would it? Because how good actually are we at keeping the rules?
In the news this past week has been conversation about how few people play by the actual rules in Monopoly – and if we can’t stick to even the monopoly rules… I confess to being fully aware of those rules, but choosing not to play them because they don’t suit my purposes!
15 We are Jews by birth and are not sinners like Gentiles. 16 But we know that God accepts only those who have faith in Jesus Christ. No one can please God by simply obeying the Law. So we put our faith in Christ Jesus, and God accepted us because of our faith.
17 When we Jews started looking for a way to please God, we discovered that we are sinners too. Does this mean that Christ is the one who makes us sinners? No, it doesn’t! 18 But if I tear down something and then build it again, I prove that I was wrong at first. 19 It was the Law itself that killed me and freed me from its power, so that I could live for God.
I have been nailed to the cross with Christ. 20 I have died, but Christ lives in me. And I now live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave his life for me. 21 I don’t turn my back on God’s undeserved kindness. If we can be acceptable to God by obeying the Law, it was useless for Christ to die.
So, doing the right thing is not enough. Obeying the law in itself does not please God – it is the reason why we obey the law, our faith in Jesus, that counts.
That, I realise is a good thing. If it were doing the right thing alone that counts, we probably wouldn’t get very far – because try as we might, we are not always good at doing the right thing…
However having faith in Jesus, and trying to do what he requires of us, works. Because the emphasis is on the faith in him, and not what we can achieve alone. By ourselves we get things wrong – in and through all that Jesus has done for us, we find forgiveness and can live in that.
We can’t do anything – Jesus has done it all.
Thank you Lord
for all you have done for me
all you give to me.
Thank you that I do not have to rely
on what I can do
– for that would be a poor show,.
that I can live by faith
and that you live in me.