The 10 commandments (or ten words in Hebrew) of God that were given to Moses on Mount Sinai during the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt are the foundations of human morality, law, and order. These commandments illustrate the character of God.
In 1 Peter 2:9, we read that Christians are called to be different from the people of this world (see Luke 16:8). Have you taken the time to consider, acknowledge and obey all of Christ’s commandments for us to follow? Have you lived well enough to assure that when you die, you’ll enter Paradise?
…That’s a silly question. Our only valid response is “No”.
10 as it is written:Romans 3:10-12
Indeed, since our very Genesis, no man or woman has been able to live in perfect obedience to God’s will. You might well be a kind, light-hearted, nature-loving man or woman who gives freely to the poor and cares for orphans, but none of us can afford a ticket to eternal life in Paradise by our own efforts.
Let’s have a quick look at four of Jesus’ commandments. Are you perfect enough to live in complete obedience?
21You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brotherwill be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.Matthew 5:21-22
38 You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.Matthew 5:38-42
Love Your Enemies
43 You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.
48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.Matthew 5:43-45, 48
Now, I wouldn’t consider myself a “bad person” in the traditional sense of the term, but my answer to the original question has to be, “No, I can’t”.
If I flip back through the chapters of my life (not even very far in some cases), I’ve violated each of these commandments to some extent, thereby duly warranting my separation, condemnation, and conviction from God.
If you’ve read my historical memoir or have visited my blog before, you’ll see that I’ve been burdened with a traumatic brain injury following a severe motor vehicle accident. If the nature or effects of this injury is foreign to you, here’s a broad definition:
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of lifelong disability and death worldwide but is considered a ‘silent epidemic’ as society is largely unaware of the magnitude of the problem. TBI is a complex injury with a broad spectrum of symptoms and disabilities. Patients with a TBI may have a range of physical, mental, cognitive and social problems.Australian Family Physician: Traumatic brain injury – support for injured people and their carers
I don’t believe that any particular injury or misadventure we face or experience is God’s continued judgement for our sin/s. Indeed, Jesus’s final words on the crucifix of “it is finished” in John 19:30 shows that the price for humanity’s sin was paid in full on Calvary.
As Paul told the believers in Rome,
8 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.Romans 8:1
So why did I crash my car and nearly die? A logical or sensible response would be, “Because you ignored the unbroken white lines on the road and overtook a truck around a sweeping bend”. An impatient, naive and foolish choice, I know.
However, as I sit here across from my wife and infant son, I know that the grace shown to me by God before, during, and following my accident is far more elaborate than mere luck, chance or fate.
It was always part of His design, so, therefore, it was always going to happen.
139 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.Psalm 139:1-3
Anyhow, let’s get back to what we were talking about.
God is easy to please, but hard to satisfy.― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
To put it plainly, God isn’t satisfied with Sunday Christians. Indeed,
Christianity has run into a problem. We’ve gotten into the habit of putting our spiritual lives into a box labelled “Sunday Mornings Only!” that gets put back on the shelf the second we get home from church. But we’re not supposed to compartmentalise our lives into two different categories, “Jesus” and “Everything Else in Life.” Instead, our relationship with Jesus should be the storage unit that holds everything else in place.10 Things Christians forget when they leave church on Sunday morning
You see, God wants all of us, all the time. Satan uses his cunning, tricks and deceptions to cast a shadow over this truth. He prompts us to blame God for our misfortunes.
In Paul’s second letter to the believers in Corinth, we see that he too was experiencing the wrath and guile of Satan for his commitment to the spread of Christ’s gospel amongst the gentiles.
Similar to what we see in the book of Jeremiah, Paul understood God’s overarching purpose for his particular griefs; they were not tools of evil but of good.
7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.
8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.2 Corinthians 12:7-10
As the Corinthian church community members would’ve been well acquainted with it, Paul doesn’t illustrate his thorn in the flesh.
I believe this was deliberate, as it’s allowed us to apply the concept to our personal struggles, ailments, and difficult circumstances. Even as followers of Christ, we must remember that we’re not in Heaven yet. We see in John 16:11 that Jesus grants Satan the title: “the ruler of the world”.
God allows us to receive our own thorns in the flesh to stop us from becoming arrogant (obsessively high opinion of oneself). The sin of which all humans are prone to fall.
20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.John 15:20
2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.Psalm 18:2
God doesn’t need the little strength we have to give. What He’s seeking is our faith, our trust and our desire for His fellowship in whatever situation He gives us. Moreover, He wants to be more precious to us than our health, wealth, or anything else.
The limitlessness of Jesus’ grace is seen vividly in his final hours upon his cross.
39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”Luke 23:39–43
All that the criminal hanging beside Jesus had to do to be forgiven and welcomed into Heaven was to fear God, recognise the debt he owed for his sinfulness, and acknowledge the divinity, glory, and sinlessness of Jesus.
Similarly, we read in the Bible that men like Noah, King David and Job were considered by God to have been blameless. However, when you look at the lives of these men, their blamelessness was often temporary; they had to keep their communion with God and adherence to His Law.
The justification of the ungodly on the basis of Christ alone by faith alone is a precious and magnificent truth.John Piper, “Can anyone really be blameless?“, Desiring God.