Devotion for August 7, 2018

This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent. (John 6:29)

How does someone get to heaven? The Pharisees of Jesus’ time asked Him that same question. They phrased it a bit differently, but the point was the same: “what must we do, to be doing the works of God?” So what must we do? Believe. Believe in the one whom the Father has sent. In other words, believe in Jesus.

That sounds too easy. That sounds too simple. What about all that Jesus says about doing good? What about the commandments? What about good works, and where it says that Jesus will be judging us by feeding the hungry and clothing the naked?

Of course, that’s all true. You need to do good works. You need to try to keep the commandments. You need to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. In fact, Jesus even says (quoting the Old Testament), “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).

Now take a step back and reflect on your life. Have you always, 100% of the time, loved God with all your heart, soul, and mind? With 100% of your heart, 100% of your soul, 100% of your mind always loved God? And have you always, 100% of the time loved your neighbor 100% equal to or more than yourself?

The reality is that no one can honestly say they have done this. No one. In fact, Paul in his letter to the Romans tells us that it’s not only a matter of these 100%’s that I just mentioned, it’s far worse. Quoting the Psalms, he says, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” That’s a very harsh statement isn’t it? And what’s the implication? We all deserve hell. Absolutely every one of us.

So what do we do to get out of this predicament? Believe in Him whom He has sent. Believe in Jesus. Does it still sound too easy? Too simple? For us, perhaps, but it’s better than the alternative. Why not place our hope on the One whom God sent into this world to bear our sin and be our Savior, the One whom God sent to hang on the cross of Calvary, bleeding and dying for our transgressions that we would live by His resurrection? Why not place our hope in this gracious God? After all, as we look at it, yes it’s easy and simple for us, but it certainly wasn’t for Him. And that’s where we see just how great, how deep, and how wide His love for us is. Amen.

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, you took my sin upon Yourself, coming into this world as the One sent by our Heavenly Father. Grant me faith to trust in Your mercy, to trust in Your work of dying for my sins. Amen.