Just one thing (by grace through faith)

By The Rev. Jeremy Myers

Following our worship service at First Baptist Church on Sunday morning, I had a very thought-provoking conversation with one of the resident thinkers of our assembly.

This gentleman has a gift for posing questions that put your mind into motion. As we stood at the church welcome center, he asked, “If God gave you 10 things to do in 2022 and you truly believed they were directed by God, do you think we would do them?”

On the surface, the answer to the question seems painfully obvious. It appears to me that God already tried this little experiment, and it failed miserably.

In Exodus 20, God provided a fairly straightforward list of 10 things for his people. We know them as the Ten Commandments. Quite literally, as the list was being written, the people were back at base camp violating the first two items. The people had moved on from God because he wasn’t working fast enough for them. They both elevated another god above their God and made for themselves an image to bow down and worship.

If I think about my own life, I have to admit I often don’t fare any better. While I’ve never formed anything with the express purpose of replacing God with it and worshiping it in his place, I must admit there are many things in my life that do supplant God’s place of preeminence in my life.

There are times when I prioritize other things above God. And while I may not physically bow down and worship them, I do pay homage to them in ways that could be construed as worship.

If we were all to take an honest look at our lives, I think we’d all see times and places where we choose to worship other gods, not the least of which is our own selves. The truth is whether it be the Ten Commandments or some other new list, we would continue to struggle with that list because it is not our list. And quite honestly, we think we know best.

The Bible provides us with another clear answer at the very beginning at the fall. God provided Adam and Eve with a list, not of 10 things but one, don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Within just a few short verses, we find that God’s one thing was one thing too many for humanity. That first failure, or sin, is the reason that no matter what list God provides, regardless of how short and simple it may be, will prove too much for us. Just like Adam and Eve, we will continue to do our own thing rather than the thing God has asked of us.

This is the perpetual problem of sin that plagues all of us. It is the original pandemic that infects all of us, and it is fatal without treatment.

“If God gave you 10 things to do in 2022 and you truly believed they were directed by God, do you think we would do them?” Based on the truth of scripture and the evidence of my own life, I don’t think I would.

Don’t get me wrong, I would want to and I would give it my best effort, but I would undoubtedly fail. At some point, I would minimize and rationalize my way out of what God has asked of me and into what I wanted and thought was best and most desirable in the moment. And by I would, I mean I will. I will without question fail to live up to God’s standards of righteousness in the days ahead. So will you.

By God’s grace, our salvation and standing with God isn’t dependent upon what we do but upon what Jesus has done. We are saved by grace through faith alone. Don’t misunderstand me. There are certainly things we should and should not do based on the truth of scripture, and we should make every effort to adjust our lives accordingly.

But the solution to our sin problem is one thing, putting our faith in the shed blood of the perfect son of God, Jesus Christ. Jesus lived out all of God’s lists perfectly. He and he alone lived a life without sin. It is in his blood that we find the cure for the sin sickness in our lives and the hope of eternal life.

Ephesians 1:7 tells us, “In [Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.” The good news of the gospel is that Jesus has accomplished what we could not and has called us to do one thing, to put our faith in him.

The Rev. Jeremy Myers is the lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Seymour. Read his blog at jeremysmyers.com. Send comments to [email protected].