|Photo by David Castillo Dominici, courtesy|
Read with me from one of my favorite books in the Bible, Romans. I love the way it just spells it all out, holding nothing back, telling it like it is. Some times we need that in our lives. We need someone to be honest, and set us straight, while never letting us forget how much we are loved.
"2 I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. 3 For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. 4 For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given.[a] As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God."
Remember that word "zeal?" It means passion! We can be passionate about all the wrong things, can't we. It’s possible to even be passionate for God, but still be off the mark. Remember Apollos? Go back and read that post for a quick refresher, then come back here. I'll wait.
We can think we are showing passion for someone or something, but we might be barking up the wrong tree altogether. You know how those good intentions go.
For example, my husband and I love each other very much, but if I do not learn what makes him feel loved, and do everything I see as loving except those things, am I really taking the action to love him? Remember, the passionate love God desires is a verb, it is volitional, it is not just an emotion, it is what you do with that emotion.
The Israelites thought they were loving God by following the law. After all, Moses was God's friend, and that's who gave them the law. So, the law must be good, right? The problem arose when the Israelites refused to accept that the law was fulfilled, or completed, by the coming of the Messiah, Jesus.
Now, this wasn't hidden information. It was all plainly given in Scripture. There was no secret about the Messiah and the signs that would precede Him, as well as prove His identity. Jesus fulfilled every one of the more than 300 indicators, yet many of the Jews refused to accept the Truth. They continued to seek God through the law and through animal sacrifice, because they could not accept Jesus’ sacrifice.
I used to struggle with accepting forgiveness, too. I thought if I didn't work for it, it must not be real. Just accept Him? It goes against the grain for some of us.
May be it was that way for the religious Jews. Then again, there are people who would rather miss out on their blessing if to receive it they must admit they were wrong. It's kind of like being married: you can either be stubborn, or you can be happy, but you can't be both.
It takes a change in heart to join up with someone you're determined to hate and mistrust. Many Jews had believed Jesus was a false prophet, accusing Him of receiving power from Satan to perform His miracles. If they'd only obeyed the law in this instance, testing the spirits against Scripture, it would have been abundantly clear Whose Son Jesus was.
As it was, they were zealous for the law when it suited their own opinions, but were not zealous at all for the God who gave them the law.
It's easy to get off track, isn't it. We start to forget why we started something in the first place and find ourselves feeling trapped by the very activities that we meant to improve our relationships with our spouses, kids, friends, family, even God. We become slaves to the schedule, the rules, the timeline and forget about what was the purpose of it all in the first place!
“For I bear them witness, that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness for everyone who believes.” Romans 10: 2-4
Do you want to passionate about something? Do you want something to get excited about? Then read on to verses 9-13:
“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Whoever - that's you and me, by the way - calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Period. End of story. No ifs, ands or buts. Call on Him now. His name is Jesus. Be saved now. You will figure out the rest later. Call on Him. It's enough. It's all you need. It's that simple. Do it now.
"Lord Jesus, I want to be saved. I want You to save me. I want You to be in my heart from today onward. I don't ever want to be alone again. I am sorry for everything I have done to push You away until now. I don't know what happens after this, but I believe You do. I am calling on You and want You to open my eyes and my heart to You from now on. Thank You."
Amen and love, Karen