Monday, January 22, 2024

Living The Jesus Way – The Way of Faith

Monday, January 22, 2024

Don’t think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass away from the law until all things are accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever does and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 5:17-20 CSB

Living The Jesus Way – The Way of Faith

In this passage of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is assuring those listening to Him that He did not come to discredit or disqualify the Old Testament Law. Instead, He came to fulfill the law - to bring it full circle.  He assures them that not even one tiny letter or stroke of a letter will be unfulfilled. It will all be completely fulfilled with Jesus – through His birth, death, resurrection, and 2nd coming. Jesus came to fulfill the law – what does that mean for those Living The Jesus Way?

The Scribes and Pharisees were the religious elite in Jesus’ day. Their “religion” was not true worship of God. Instead, it was rooted in the works of a prideful heart. They believed they had to keep the laws and commands perfectly to have salvation, and there were so many laws that no one could keep them all. They believed that the only way a person would ever be worthy enough to enter heaven is to do all the things, perform all the rituals, and portray a perfectly “religious” life to those around them. They cared about what they looked like on the outside, but God cares about our hearts. The “righteousness” of the scribes and Pharisees was impressive to men, but it was not impressive to God.

We know that we cannot have salvation and eternal life by works alone. We have been freed from the law because Jesus was born, took our sin upon Himself on the cross and rose again completing the law and in doing so fulfilled righteousness for us! Unlike the Scribes and Pharisees, we know we are not made righteous by keeping the law, but through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

What does righteousness look like when we walk in The Jesus Way? 

Jesus has done and will do everything we need to be made righteous with God. If we are going to walk in The Jesus Way, we must measure ourselves with Jesus – His characteristics that He gives in the Beatitudes. We cannot measure ourselves by the world’s standards and walk in The Jesus Way. They do not align so it will not work.

We are not just made righteous; we are to live in righteousness. Righteousness in the life of someone who is walking in The Jesus Way looks like someone whose whole life aligns with our faith in Jesus. Pastor Jim told us about Pistis, the Greek word for faith. It means trust, trustworthiness, faithfulness, or belief. But it also speaks to a deeper belief or trust in someone or something, such as allegiance or loyalty. Whatever we give our allegiance to, we will align with which is why if we are walking in The Jesus Way we can only be aligned with Him. 

Doing good things is not bad. But God wants His children to be the kind of people who want to do good things to reflect His image to a lost and hurting world, rather than to make themselves look more holy. Unlike the Scribes and Pharisees who believed in their own works for their righteousness, we are called to a different kind of righteousness – one that has a deeper commitment to do the will of God. This is Living the Jesus Way.

This week:

  • Is there some thing or someone in your life that you are giving allegiance to rather than God? Do a quick heart check – and be honest! Righteousness in the life of someone living The Jesus Way puts Jesus at the highest place in our lives. 
  • Are you focusing more effort into “works” than you are on your relationship with God? It can happen easily because sometimes our “works” are a part of our daily lives. We have to be sure we are not substituting “doing things” for Jesus in place of time with Him.

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