The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
Only two ways exist by which human beings can attempt to be acceptable to God. The first path involves our attempt to independently meet His impeccable spiritual and moral standard: "His way is perfect" - (Psalm 18:30). This requires absolute obedience and faithfulness on our part. From the moment of conception and forevermore, we must be and do exactly what God's parameters require for acceptance. Even one sin of attitude, word, or deed disqualifies us, bringing upon us our Lord's rejection and judgment. He must act accordingly to maintain His own integrity and virtue, which He cannot violate without ceasing to fulfill His own standard of perfection.
Of course. this way of seeking God's favor offers no hope for success for fallen human beings.
"All have sinned and come short of the glory of God… All we like sheep have gone astray" (Romans 3:23; Isaiah 53:6).
No sinner born of Adam's race can meet God's standard of pristine perfection. Thus, the first way of seeking to establish our own righteousness and acceptance with the Lord crashes on the rocks of His perfection, and our imperfection.
Thankfully, another way exists whereby we can seek favor and acceptance with God.
"He hath made us accepted in the Beloved… Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life" (Ephesians 1:6; Romans 5:18).
Those who recognize the futility of our own efforts are prepared to realize the glory of Divine faithfulness in establishing righteousness and acceptance with God. He offers a "free gift" by grace. We receive the gift by faith, which imputes the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ to us. The hymn writer Issac Watts beautifully describes the wonder of God spiritually adorning us with acceptance in His beloved Son:
"And lest the shadow of a spot should on my soul be found, He took the robe my Savior wrought, and cast it all around!" (from the hymn, "Awake My Heart, Arise My Tongue!").
Watts refers to the spiritual robe of righteousness freely bestowed to all who trust in Christ and Christ alone as our hope of acceptance with God. This second way - the only way - rests solely on the Person and work of the Lord Jesus. Our Heavenly Father ever looks upon those who believe through the atoning work and ongoing intercession of His Son and our Savior. "Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us… righteousness" (I Corinthians 1:30). Indeed, He sees us as united to His Son, freely adorned forever with the robe of righteousness "cast all around!"
Our own efforts cannot justify us because they cannot begin to span the gulf between God's standard and our ability. Christ, however, perfectly fulfilled the standard during His human life - "in all points tempted like as we are, and yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). Thus, He could bear our sins on the cross of Calvary because He had none of His own for which to die. He wore the stained robe of our sins that we might bear the pristine robe of His righteousness (I Peter 2:24). This presents the truth to us in stark, direct, and unmistakable terms: we either come to God adorned with Christ's righteousness and "accepted in the Beloved. Or, we vainly attempt to come by our own devices, spiritually unclothed and thus completely unacceptable in God's sight.
No more glorious truth exists than this promise of favor with God freely given to us, as purchased by the highest cost imaginable to Him. However, no more humbling truth exists than the revelation that the best we can offer in seeking to find favor with God by our own efforts can never avail. We either come by the Blood-stained path of righteousness that sparkles with the glory of freely given grace. Or we seek to come by a path too dark to travel, and with bridges washed out all along the way. Two paths. Our works, or God's work on our behalf. Only the latter offers hope for acceptance with Him.
"Jesus saith unto Him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by Me."
"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh, and having an high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith."
Weekly Memory Verse
"And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends."