As I was reading my morning devotional the other day I realized that I don’t think were any different than ancient Israel. The devotional was based in Exodus 20:25, If you make an altar if stones for me, do not build it with sreased stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it. The point is that God wanted any altar built by the Israelites to be untouched by them and only by the work of God. If they did used dressed stones then the Israelites could take credit for some of the work in creating the altar and make it look how they wanted it to look.
So, how different are we today when we take God’s Truth in His word and interpret it to suit our needs or wants or desires? Unfortunately we only want to hear the good part of God’s Word anymore. We don’t want to hear about the fact that we are sinful and need a savior. We don’t want to hear that it’s only because God’s grace and mercy and completely faithful love for us that we are allowed into His presence.
We so easily justify our salvation through what we perceive to be good actions and intentions. God’s Truth is not always the easiest to hear, especially when it impacts the way we live and our worldly desire to live the “good life”.
Does God need to our good deeds and sacrifices? No. He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
Humbly, humility, understanding who God is and who we are.
God gives us His word and Holy Spirit to guide us and speak His Truth into our lives. But it’s only because of His love for us that we can be in His presence and have the opportunity of eternal life. He loved us first.
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 4:9-10
See, God’s wrath was unleashed because of our sin, but it was Jesus was took the wrath for us, it was Jesus, God’s most precious Son, who stood in our place so that we could enter into God’s presence.
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:4-5 NIV
I’m not saying we should stop doing our good deeds and serving others, because this is how we can love others and show them who Jesus is, but we can’t depend on our good deeds for our salvation. We can’t justify our sinful nature through our good acts. We have to follow Jesus and be tuned into His Holy Spirit every minute of our lives, not just on Sunday.