Before I became a Christian, I can remember trying my best to be a “good person.” My primary motivation, though, was always how being “good” might benefit me. What could I get out of doing the right thing? Who might I impress? What might I receive in return?
Thanks to the way my parents raised me, I have always been a pretty “moral” person. Yes, I made (and continue to make) plenty of mistakes, sinning against God and against others. My morality has, for the most part, though, been good.
MORALITY IS INSUFFICIENT
Good morality is not enough, though. The first-century Jewish leaders were also seemingly moral people, but Jesus said to them, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every impurity. In the same way, on the outside you seem righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:27-28).
Their outward morality was not enough, and neither is ours. I was the epitome of hypocrisy as a teenager and as a young adult, usually saying the right things and trying to do the right things. My heart was not right with God, though. I was a “whitewashed tomb.”
PURPOSE AND MEANING
Praise God that He rescued me from my sins when I was 20 years old! He delivered me from slavery to sin and changed my heart. He delivered me from myself. While I am still far from perfect and need God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness every single day, I now see the purpose and meaning God has for my life. I recognize that the principles I live by are not for myself but for Him and for His kingdom.
On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will be preaching on “Living Ethics” from Romans 12:9-14. I hope to challenge those who attend our drive-in worship service (or watch online later) to be guided by biblical principles in such a way that others cannot deny the work of God in their hearts. How might we impact the world around us if this is the case?
As Romans 12 makes clear, the way we live our lives is not primarily for our own selves but rather for God’s glory and for the good of others.
Of course, that kind of purpose and perspective is not possible apart from a changed heart and a changed life. I know because I tried so hard to gain or earn or obtain that purpose as a young man. I tried so hard to be religious enough and moral enough to earn God’s favor. Again and again, I failed, though, because I am a sinner. God is perfect and none of us is. Yet, God loved us so much that He sent His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins. Then, Jesus rose from the dead to win the victory over sin and death. Now, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Turn to Him if you have yet to do so, and you will experience the hope only He can offer.
If you already know and follow Jesus, though, how can you better depend on Him to guide your life in such a way that He gets the glory and others are blessed?