[Nov 04]--Six Little Words

John 8:21-30

            As mentioned before, this entire chapter is taken up with a major confrontation (or maybe confrontations) between Jesus and the religious leaders, particularly the Pharisees. He claimed that God was his Father and was calling them to believe in him and trust in him for salvation. Their responses get more and more terse and angry, and finally they picked up stones to kill him.

            Now you’ve gotten the main point of the chapter and of today’s passage, but I’d like to focus on six little words which carry so much meaning for you and me. They're packed with significance, and they represent a major aspect of our salvation. Furthermore, a lot of Christians miss out on how important this concept is.

            The words I’m referring to are some of the last ones that Jesus spoke in today’s reading: "I always do what pleases him." Again, he was claiming that he's God’s Son, and that how they responded to him determined where they'd spend eternity. He spoke about how the Father had sent him and ended with how he “always [does] what pleases him.” Here are some thoughts leading up to my main point:

  • When you think about it, this is just about the most audacious claim ever spoken by human lips. Can you claim this? Can you honestly claim that you always do what pleases the Father?  Of course not! And neither can I.
  • Let’s be clear here. This is more than mere sinlessness. Yes, he was without sin. He never did anything wrong or immoral or displeasing to the Father. But in a sense, a newborn baby has never consciously sinned either.
  • This is why theologians make a distinction between positive righteousness and negative righteousness. We need to avoid sins like lying or theft or murder. But we also need to follow God’s directions in a positive way. When he tells us to be generous with our money, for example, that’s a positive command.
  • So this means that we're saved not just by Christ’s sinlessness, but his righteousness as well. He’s the only One who could ever actually claim to always do what pleases the Father.
     Why is this important? Because he is our righteousness. For Muslims, their righteousness is praying five times a day, giving to charities, visiting Mecca, etc. For observant Jews, their righteousness is obeying the Torah. My righteousness is Christ, and Christ alone.

      It also affects how I see what God’s standard is. As a redeemed believer who's trying to become more like Christ, it is not enough to avoid sin. That’s important, but it’s only part of the picture. I need to consciously choose to do what pleases the Father.

      And for your edification, here's "In Christ Alone" by Michael English

Father God, when I look at your standards, I'm VERY glad that my righteousness is your Son. Please help me to be like him. I want to please you in every way.

No comments:

Post a Comment