Happy Resurrection Sunday! Today is Easter, one of my favorite days of the year. It is very significant for those of us who follow Christ Jesus.
In preparation for today, I spent an evening this week at an explanation of the Jewish Passover. The organization, Jews for Jesus, was connecting each element of a traditional Passover feast with Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. It was incredible! Very thought provoking, convincing and powerful. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind Jesus is the Lamb of God.
At the close, the host had us stand while he pronounced the priestly blessing over us. He first sang it in Hebrew and then spoke it over us in English. It was beautiful. He was reciting the blessing the Lord instructed Moses to have the Israelite priests bless His people with. This is how it goes:
“For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless…” (Romans 4:14)
Because I write so extensively about grace and trusting in Jesus’ provision of a right-standing with God by stressing that our behavior has nothing to do with this standing. I get many emails reminding me of the importance of living well (i.e., following rules, the law, or the 10 Commandments, or the rules we make up as Christians).
Sometimes, I feel this makes people uncomfortable as they think that I am saying, we can live however we want, steeped in sin, and it doesn’t matter.
No, it does matter for many reasons (many of which Paul will get to in Chapter 6). However, nothing—again I say, nothing—nullifies the grace of God faster than believing that we somehow can sway God’s opinion of us by our behavior.
I lived for years trying to do the right things, but in the back of my mind, I always thought that God was just waiting for me to mess up. I fully believed I was saved by grace, but that is where it ended. After that starting point, it was up to me to be good, do good, and not mess up.
This mentality kept me sin-conscience and afraid of God. As Paul observes, living this way made God’s promise of grace worthless in my life.