“You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes.” Number 15:39
I’ve been reading though Leviticus and Numbers and honestly, it is a bit mind-numbing. Life under the law was harsh. I am so glad to be living under the law of grace. (Romans 6:14) I am so glad Jesus fulfilled the righteous demands of the law that we never could. (Matthew 5:17)
If there is proof that man can not attain righteousness on his own there is the entire Old Testament. We just can’t make ourselves be good. No matter how hard we try.
Paul voiced the constant inner struggle of so many; “So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am!” Romans 7:21-24
It is almost as though the harder we try, the harder it gets. Maybe because we are set up for failure? Maybe because God wants us to fail enough in our own efforts so that we ‘would seek God, grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us…’ (Acts 17:27) Maybe in order for us to reach out for God, we need to realize we are in the dark. That we have failed even our own moral standards. That we desperately need saving.
Let’s define salvation. For most it means ultimately ending up in Heaven, right? But it is so much more than that. Salvation in my mind starts and ends with relationship. In a powerful illustration Jesus rejected the religious from Heaven, “‘I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:23) It is startling. Many are religious and believe they are Heaven bound but they will hear those words on judgment day.
So how can you be assured of salvation?
Do you know him? Do you know why he died for you? ” For the joy set before him he endured the cross…” Hebrews 12:2 Do you know that WE were that joy? He died so that we could know him. God doesn’t need us in any way. Yet he wants us, he created you and me so that we might search and find him, and enter in a eternal relationship with him.
Salvation starts as we enter into that relationship, that covenant. Just like a marriage. I love my husband and I am exclusively devoted to him for life. How much more so should we be devoted to Christ? I know my marriage wouldn’t work if I only saw Tim one hour a week and forgot about him the rest of the time. Like in a marriage, a neglected relationship will fail. Jesus wants your heart. He wants your trust. He wants to speak to you, to show himself to be your good shepherd, helping you navigate safely through this dark world…and yes, to bring you safely into his kingdom some day.
“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:13
You can know that you have this eternal life. Paul said, “That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12 Paul wasn’t going to get discouraged because he really knew Jesus.
Much of Jesus’ ministry was investing in his team of rag-tag disciples. He could have passed information on any other way, but he did it through relationship. “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15
Jesus wants to be your Savior, your Lord, and your friend. How about having a best friend that is all powerful, will never leave, and will always act on your best behalf? Forget rules and traditions of men. A day to day relationship with Jesus Christ is the only way to true life change, true peace, and assurance of salvation.
The Bible instructs us to ‘pray without ceasing’. Which really means that you are always talking to God (not out loud in public or people might look at you funny!) and walking by faith. It’s a blessing and a privilege. I thank Him for his presence in my life daily. He is my best friend, my everything. He wants to be that to you too.
Referencing back to the opening scripture- the Israelites needed constant reminders to not go astray. Religion isn’t enough to satisfy our hearts- so prone to wander. Only relationship can. I know personally that when you experience how awesome and wonderful it is to walk closely with the Creator of the Universe- you wouldn’t trade it for anything. Those other things lose their appeal. Grace is powerful because it transforms us from the inside out. Grace says ‘ditch your guilt and walk in freedom’. Grace freely pardons. Grace allows us to make mistakes. Religion is a harsh task-master. Grace allows us to enter boldly into God’s presence, as his friends. Let’s accept that gift today as freely as God gives it.