Sunday, January 10, 2016

We Are Able To Obey God! #JesusFollowers

Jesus calls us to do Good Works, not as a measure by which we judge OURSELVES worthy of eternal life, or to judge others as UNworthy of Heaven, but because they please God, and they are the means by which we will be judged at the end of our earthly existence.

These Truths are simple, and easily grasped.

The one whom God sent to us, Jesus, calls on us explicitly to turn to God and live Godly lives, patterned on the life of Jesus, the one God sent to be our example.

Jesus taught in a parable that we had been given “talents” – a measure of money in the ancient world, but also coincidentally meaning gifts of God in our modern world. We are called upon to use these God-given talents, these gifts given to us from our birth, to make the world a better place. (Matt. 25:13-30)

If we don’t use our talents, our gifts, or if we use them badly, and to hurt others, who’s fault is that? Not God’s, since he gives us natural gifts at birth, and expects us to use them. Not heredity, because we are told in the Hebrew Scriptures that we cannot blame our Father’s for our mistakes, or our sins; the sins of the fathers are accounted to THEM, not us. (Ezek. 18:20)

We are fully accountable to God for our own acts, and God has given us all a great head start in life, and God offers us more if we ask Him in prayer. (Matt. 7:7; James 1:5)

The prophets – along with God’s chosen spokesman, Jesus, all assure us that God LOVES the world (John 3:16) and wishes all to be united with Him.

Jesus, the man God chose because his life pleased God in every way. "Whoever does not love me does not keep my words," says Jesus "And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s, Who sent me." (John 14:24)

And as a man, when we follow him, he becomes in a very real way our pattern, our example, and our teacher. That example is yet another reason why we have no excuse but to seek God’s righteousness.

We know that we have the ability to choose to repent, turn to God, or do any of what God and God’s son Jesus calls us to do, because Jesus DID IT.

Jesus tells us to stop sinning, and preached that sinners should repent of their sins and seek to live good, holy and righteous lives. (Luke 5:32; John 8:11) Do we believe him?

"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever DOES NOT OBEY the Son shall not see life." (John 3:36)

Jesus taught that we have the ability to obey God and the example of His servant Jesus, and are required to do so if we hope to reside with God eternally.

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments." (John 14:15)

"Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 18:3)

In the Hebrew Scriptures, God assures human beings that His commandments are, "not too hard for you," and "The word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, SO THAT YOU CAN DO IT." (Deut. 30:11, 14) Isaiah writes, "Wash yourselves, make yourself clean. Put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes. Cease to do evil. Learn to do well." (1:16) Who would doubt today that we can do this?

"Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely there is a God who judges the earth." (Psalms 58:11)

Without the ability of all people to turn and to seek to obey God, these would all just be suggestions, unworthy of our attention.

And we could easily say “it’s too hard for human beings” or claim (as some do) that we have a natural, in-born or inherited inability to do good as an excuse to do sinful acts. But that would be contrary to Jesus’ explicit teachings, contrary to the wisdom of the Scriptures, and contrary to God.

Jesus calls us to repent, obey, and do Good Works that are pleasing to God. Let’s go out and do just that!

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