Tuesday, January 03, 2012
Recently a good friend and I were talking about the standards by which we live our lives. I mentioned that I was trying to get back on track with my relationship with God, and he questioned what I meant. By that, I did not mean that I was trying to earn God's love, forgiveness, or anything else, but rather that I was trying to live the way God wants me to. Jesus forgives us of our sins, not because of anything we do, or can do, or could do, but only because He paid the penalty for us. He calls us to live for Him, and to "Go forth and sin no more." However, it is worth mentioning again, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." The Holy Bible : New International Version, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984). Eph 2:8-9.
This is the crux of the message of Salvation, indeed the Gospel message.
Anyway, the standards, how to get back to the standards...
The Apostle Paul, probably the best at reminding the early Church about living up to standards, was also very free with his grace. He figured that he had been forgiven much, so he must also forgive much. I have to agree with that. The hard part is to raise up a standard that makes some people cringe, yet to forgive them when they fall short. Jesus told us to be holy, even as He is holy. Now that is a tough standard. We can never live up to that one, however we should do our best to do so. I am continually reminded of the warning to be careful how we judge, for the same standards we use will be used to judge us.
Some people misuse the verse to say that we should not judge at all, but that is not accurate. we are called to judge right from wrong, and to make correction where we see the need. HOWEVER, we are reminded to be careful, as already stated, the other shoe will drop on us someday!
So. Standards. Gotta have them, gotta live them. But why, if there is grace, do we need to obey standards? Out of gratitude. God created us. God redeemed us. God loves us. God asks us to live by certain standards. I, for one, plan to live by them.