Monday, May 4, 2009

Rules or Relationships...

I'm finally taking the time to get back into the "Blogosphere" today! Picking up in Romans 3:21-31. This is a passage that can read a bit confusingly as it contains some large, "churchy" sounding words. But this passage is one of promise, hope and encouragement to those who have chosen to put their faith in the work of Jesus Christ.

Paul has just finished stating in verses 19-20 that the Law, or the Ten Commandments, will not justify anyone. He shares that no one is able to fulfill the Law, and that "through the Law comes the knowledge of sin." Following, or trying to follow, the Ten Commandments will not bring anyone into a right relationship with God. On the contrary, the Law simply shows us over and over again how far from God we really are in our flesh. So what are we to do?

Paul continues into verse 21, that "apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested [made known]...even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe..." He's trying to get us to see that the Christian life is about so much more than a list of rules. It's about a relationship with the one, true, living God of this world. The same God who created each of us to be in a close, personal relationship with Him. Though He created us for this purpose, we each have been given the decision of whether or not we want to be in this relationship. If we choose to pursue Him, then we must deal with the sin (or anything that is not of God), and Paul tells us here how this can happen.

Verses 24-31 really explain how God has allowed the work of Jesus Christ (God in human flesh) to come, live a sinless life and give His perfect life as a payment for the sins of the world. Paul really hits hard in verse 28, sharing that "...we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law." Again, it's about a relationship!

I just shared this illustration with our students yesterday: Imagine your relationship with your best friend (or for you reading, your spouse). You tell everyone that they are your best friend, yet you never speak to them. You never spend any time with them. You never let them know what they mean to you. What kind of friendship would that be? God desires a relationship with each of us, but me MUST come to Him and accept His offer. We must put our trust in Him through the finished work of Jesus Christ. Jesus shared in John 14:6: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."

The Ten Commandments are a good guide for us to follow, but don't put your faith in a set of rules...put your faith in the One who died for the very sins you have committed. Come to God, confess your sins to Him, ask forgiveness, and follow Him.

Pastor Joey