Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Like Sin – Obedience Starts In The Heart

For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.”  - Psalm 51:16-17

Like the rich young ruler who thought that it was what he did that would get him into heaven, Jesus showed him that it was the condition of his heart that made the difference between heaven and hell. It is easy to do something for God – a lot easier than yielding our hearts and lives to God. Martin Luther struggled with the Book of James because Martin Luther was all about justification  - being right before a holy God – by faith and not works. Yet James seemed to say that it was works that proved our faith.

Actually they were both right. Think about what I just wrote. Of course they were both right – the Word of God is truth and the Word of God says both. So why the confusion? Works is a natural result of faith – but faith is not a natural result of works.  Like the rich young ruler's thinking – “If I do the right things – the religious things – what the scripture says to do, then I will be justified before God.” WRONG!!! Honk! Honk! Buzzzzz! That is putting the proverbial works-cart before the faith-horse.

Why do we do that? Because it is easy to do.  It is something that we can do and we don’t really need God to do it. We can make a sacrifice and present it to God with a sinful heart and convince ourselves because we did something “good” that God is pleased and is welcoming us with open arms. WRONG!!! Honk! Honk! Buzzzzz!

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”  – Matthew 23:24-28

It is easy to do good things and God have no part in it.  An easy trap to fall in to. You can go on a mission trip and be praised by men for your “sacrifice”, yet it was all you.  You left God at home.  If you want to get this faith life right – and I believe you do else you would not be reading this – you must understand that it begins and ends with a broken and contrite heart. Contrite means repentant.  A heart turned toward God and away from the world.

If anyone comes after Me (Jesus), let them deny themselves, pick up their cross (every day) and follow Me.” – Matthew 16:24

Don’t’ you see – obedience is born out of a repentant heart not human will and determination. Before you act on what God has directed you to do, there was a moment in the heart when you yielded to God and then you acted for the glory of God and His purposes – not yours. You see, it does not really matter what God asks you to do – no matter how big or how small – what matters is the condition of your heart toward God. When that is right – works will follow and will demonstrate your faith and glorify God. 

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit (good works); apart from me you can do nothing (for the kingdom of God).” – John 15:5

It starts with the heart.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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