“ The ethics of Jesus cannot be obeyed or even understood until the life of God has come to the heart of a man or woman in the miracle of the new birth. The righteousness of the law is fulfilled in those who walk in the Spirit. Christ lives again in His redeemed followers the life He lived in Judea, for righteousness can never be divorced from its source, which is Jesus Christ Himself!” ~ A.W.Tozer
This has been a rather strange day . . . . I’ve had to spend several hours trying to figure out how to “fix” an incident of hacking into my PayPal account. It was only $816.00 that pulled from our checking account! Apparently the person who gained access to my PayPal account is located in the UK because the funds were transferred in British pounds. Fortunately, I caught it almost immediately and filed a dispute with PayPal and contacted my bank first thing this morning, so I am hopeful that this will all sort out before my mortgage payment hits the checking account. It’s been a bit stressful and caused a little anxiety, but at this point I know that it’s completely out of my control and I’m trusting God that this will all sort out with PayPal and the bank investigating it. I’ll keep you posted!
So when I finally had a minute to look at this week’s quote for “In Other Words,” it was interesting to me to think about this. We don’t often talk about the ethics of anything, much less the ethics of Jesus! But since this is a topic that I invested many years studying and researching in philosophy and theology classes, I find it fascinating – however, I don’t talk about it much, because usually when you start talking about this kind of thing, most people’s eyes cross or glaze over and you know right away that you’ve lost them! This is great ;o)
The other reason that this was interesting to me is because this morning when we read our little “Keys for Kids” devotional at breakfast (from Children’s Bible Hour, if you are interested in receiving these booklets to use with your kids!) our Scripture reading for today was in 1 Peter 2:1-5
“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
The verses before this section remind us of our responsibilities as Christians:
“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable through the living and enduring word of God.” 1 Peter 1:22-23
The point of the admonition in the first five verses of chapter two is that because we have been born again, therefore, we are to live as mature Christians as we grow up in our salvation. Now to me that is what the ethics of Jesus is all about!
Unfortunately we so often miss that connection, and we sometimes live as if, because we have been forgiven, then we can do whatever we want to as long as, when we are done (for the time being) all we have to do ask God to forgive us. That’s too bad, because that kind of perspective on life always leads, eventually, to heartache for everyone involved.
In the book of Romans this propensity for people to misunderstand the concept God’s grace is clearly identified: “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? . . . . just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father we too may live a new life.” Romand 6:1-4
There is only one way for anyone’s life to reflect the ethics of Jesus: “ The ethics of Jesus cannot be obeyed or even understood until the life of God has come to the heart of a man or woman in the miracle of the new birth.” First we have to KNOW Him before we can live in “imitation of Christ.” Without His indwelling Spirit, we are powerless to make choices consistently that reflect the heart of God.
Of course all kinds of people do good things in life. But it requires the renewal of our heart and mind for us to have God’s power to rise above the everyday struggles that frequently prevent us from remembering who we are in Him. And so, no matter how much some people do not want to admit that it is so, experience and history have revealed the truth of His Word: “for righteousness can never be divorced from its source, which is Jesus Christ Himself!”
No matter how hard we try to “be good” in our own strength, TRUE righteousness comes from God through the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s the difference!
“God made Him Who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5: 21
I don’t know about you, but I am so grateful that I don’t have to depend on my own ability to “be good,” but I can completely trust Him to cleanse me from all my sins and forgive me, because even though we all do our best to grow up in our faith and become mature, we will still stumble and fall. And even though we realize that just because salvation and forgiveness is free, we can’t just be careless in our life choices, but we still fail because we can never be perfect on our own. That’s why we need a Savior! Praise God that He carries us through every moment of every day, and teaches us through His Word.
Interesting Tuesday at our house ;o) Hope you have a great week, Nina
If you would like to join the other “In Other Words” participants this week, please visit Twinkle Mom at her blog, Sunflower Faith, where you can leave a link to your blog post on this quote. You can also find the links to all the other participants this week and stop by to visit them.