Being Acceptable to God

You’re certainly not here (as a believer) to read more about what you already know doesn’t work.

I’m referring to trying to lead a life that’s acceptable to God by being a good person, by going to church, by keeping the Ten Commandments, by dutifully obeying Jesus’ and the Apostles’ teachings, even by following the instructions in the Psalms and Proverbs for faith and behavior.

Those are wonderful traits and admirable goals. But regardless of appearances –and in spite of the striving and prayers for more strength– they are impossible to inwardly sustain.

The word gospel means “good news” –and all that striving and praying for strength surely aren’t consistent with His invitation . . .

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

If each successive failure has left you ridden with more guilt and seemingly pushed Him further and further away, let me offer something fresh that does work. It agrees with the key matters that we learned in church and it can make “His rest” the normal state of your life.

His Simple Measure

God has only used the two original laws –the ones given in the Garden of Eden– as His standard for our being acceptable. He presented them using two trees –both known by their fruit. A little later we’ll see why the others were added. In the meantime, here are some highlights of those two.

After putting them in the middle of the garden, He identified the indispensable tree first: the tree of life –then the other: the tree of death. Essentially God said “When you try to take over My role as the Judge of good and evil, you will also find yourself severed from Me –your spirit separated from My Spirit.” That’s the death pictured in Genesis 2:16-17.

The trouble in the garden wasn’t over obtaining knowledge. It was becoming familiar with judging between what’s good and what’s evil. That’s God’s role –it’s not ours.

By eating the fruit, Eve revealed that she (regardless of the warning) would decide for herself what was good and what was evil –and Adam followed her. That incident illustrates the unique act and its corresponding result for the law of sin and death. We are born into that predicament –separated from God (we’re lifeless)– but He offers the remedy.

Jesus was referring to Himself as the fruit from the tree of life (the cross) when He said “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (from John 6:51-58).

Believing that He is the spiritual “food and drink” that brings about eternal life illustrates the unique act and its corresponding result for the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.

Those two laws –along with the ones that came later– were established to show us that God loves us so much that He provided His Remedy in advance of our condition. It’s reflected in the order that the trees were identified.

And just as He did for that first couple, He makes us totally acceptable to Himself by removing our fig leaves and wrapping us within His Lamb –the One whose blood was shed– giving us that life and protecting us from ever being separated from Him again.

I’m sure you’re asking “If I’m already acceptable then why are there so many do’s and don’ts in the Bible –especially the Ten Commandments?” Read on . . .