If Jesus came tomorrow, would you be happy? Would you welcome Him with open arms, or would you cower in fear under a rock? Christians always claim that Jesus could come tomorrow, or at any moment, unforeseen. It’s because of this uncertainty that Christians must always strive to live a holy life. It would be extremely unfortunate for Jesus to come tomorrow and to find us not ready to welcome Him (Matthew 25:1-13).
In Matthew 5:19, Jesus tells His followers that “whosoever therefore shall break one these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus is addressing the immutability of the Law of God as it relates to the eternal life in the Kingdom of God. Jesus is saying that breaking the least of God’s commandments will cause the breaker to be the least in the Kingdom of God. Jesus is clearly addressing believers here, not unbelievers because believers know the Law of God. There’s a greater expectation for the believer to keep the Law of God compared to an unbeliever.
Most Christians are aware that God has a set of laws, or commandments, that He expects us to faithfully adhere to in our daily lives. Exodus 20 has the details, but let’s look at the outline:
- Do not worship other gods
- Do not make images of things in heaven or earth to worship them
- Do not use the name of God lightly
- Remember the Sabbath, and keep it holy
- Respect your parents
- Do not kill
- Do not commit adultery
- Do not steal
- Do not lie
- Do not covet
Every Christian on Earth is guilty of breaking at least one of these commandments. According to Jesus, even one broken commandment relegates us to the bottom of the ladder. Looking back at Biblical men and women, there is not a single one whom we can point to as a shining example, except for Jesus Himself. How do we reconcile these seemingly disparate realities? On the one hand, “there is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10). On the other hand, Jesus expects us to keep His commandments (John 14:15) and be righteous.
The answer to this dichotomy is in the book of James. Christians do good works through having the faith of Jesus, and our faith is kept strong through doing good works. As a born-again Christian, I have experienced this relationship between faith and works first-hand. At the beginning of the journey, the Holy Spirit starts to gently nudge the person toward repentance. As each sin is repented, the person starts to fix their eyes upon Jesus and to want to be molded in His image. The person no longer has a desire to sin; sin becomes abhorrent. The more we listen to the Holy Spirit’s nudges, the closer we come to understanding God’s will for us. This leads us to want to live holy lives, untainted by sin.
Unfortunately, sin is still very much a part of this world. As much as we want to be holy we will not be able to be like Jesus until the Holy Spirit fills us completely, just prior to Jesus’ second advent, during an event known as the latter rain (more to follow on this topic in a future posting). Until that future time, we must live in a perpetual cycle of repentance, and praying for guidance so that we may not sin. We must be continually be broken by the Rock who is Jesus Christ so that we will not be crushed by the same Rock at His second coming (Matthew 21:44).
I have a challenge for those of you reading this article. Look at the Law of God, either the simplified list above or the detailed list in Exodus 20, and think about how you have broken each commandment at one time or another in your life. After you do that, think about how Jesus hung on the cross, for you and as you, and how He paid the price of sin, which is death, so that you don’t have to. Think about the gift of eternal life that accompanies each repentant soul and how easily this gift can be claimed.
This Sabbath, I pray that all who call themselves Christians will hearken to Jesus’ challenge, to try to live a holy life through the power granted to us through the Holy Spirit. I pray that those who are not Christians will see the shining lights in the darkness of this world. I pray that everyone will come into the light before it’s too late, and that everyone will be counted with the sheep at the second advent.