August 21, 2019

Build your house on a rock

Okay, I know Paul wrote in Ephesians and in Romans we are saved by faith and not by works. Here is the passage just in case you missed it.

"For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God's gift - not from works, so that no one can boast." (Eph 2:8-9 HCSB)

What a relief! All we have to do is have faith; faith that Jesus death on the cross is the payment for our sins. Jesus made us righteous before God. Seems so simple and really easy, right? But in the back recesses of our mind, it doesn't seem fair, does it? Jesus suffered and was crucified and all we have to do is believe He died for us. Just believe! Oh well that's what the man said. Now we can go on with our lives, occasionally thanking God for His love and His grace.

And then someone hits us with this bombshell,

"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will likem him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock..." (Matthew 7:24 27 KJV) (Italics are mine)

How do you like the Old English words from King James? Laugh as we will at the old English, we can not laugh away the meaning of this parable from Jesus. Simply, everyone who hears what Jesus has been saying and does them will be counted wise. I knew it! There is more to this than just believing and getting along with our lives. We do have to do something. Frankly, that is just fine with me; I want to do something, I expect to do something. I am eager to find out what these things are so I can get on with doing them.

Okay, let's look at a few "do's" in no particular order.

"Don't worry about our life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. ...For idolaters eager seek these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteous, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don't worry about tomorrow,...." (Matthew 6:25-34 NIV)

Can you really not worry? How are you going to pay the bills, put food on the table, keep a roof over your head? You can't just forget those things, can you? But Jesus tells you to not worry about those things, God will take care of you. Jesus tells you to seek the Kingdom of God first and foremost. Can you in all honesty do that?

Another "do".

"Do not judge, so that you won't be judged. For with the judgement you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

Now I know I certainly do not judge people, do you? I don't think the homeless are lazy and shiftless and prone to commit crimes. Do you? And I don't think those people live a non heterosexual lifestyle are the the most ungodly of all and deserve to be held in low esteem. Do you? Read the story of the woman caught in adultery. (John 8:3-11 HCSB) Now that is a telling story. She was caught dead to rights. She did it! The law says she should be stoned. Jesus tells the accusers to stone her only if they are clean of having sinned. You see judging is easy unless you are the one being judged, then you ask for mercy. Not an easy saying of Jesus to keep.

Just one more,

""But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. ...If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. If you do what is good to those who are good to you
, what credit is it to you? Even sinners do that. ..." (Luke 6:27-36 HCSB)

Love the man who killed my father and mother? No way! Bless the crook who scammed my family out of their life savings? Think again! Bless the man who cursed me out for no good reason! In your dreams. Surely, Jesus didn't mean that! Or maybe he did.

Remember that Sunday school song, "The wise man built his house upon a rock"? That's what Jesus said. Paul may have had other ideas about salvation, but I stand on what Jesus said!

But we do have a problem, don't we? We can not do what Jesus told us to do. God knew we could not do what we are supposed to do. We can come close, we can try, we can sincerely want to, but somehow we fall short. We can't do it on our own. And God knows it! That's why Jesus had to suffer and die on the Roman cross, because we can't "do" our way into God's family. But the sacrifice on the cross wiped away our sins. Our slate is clean. But there is one "do" required; we must believe Jesus' death settled our debts to God.

So maybe Paul and Jesus are both right. Jesus shows us what perfection is and the way we are to act and believe while Paul shows us what we can do when we fail to do what Jesus says.

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