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Romans 3:23 says that all of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But what does it mean to fall short of God’s glory? Out of today’s readings in 1 Timothy 3:8-16; Psalm 119:25-32; Nehemiah 12:44-Esther 2 and Luke 10:25-42 – Jesus’ exchange with the Lawyer in that passage gives us the most insight.
That today on Through the Word in 2020. I’m Reid Ferguson.
The Lawyer’s response in Luke is profoundly insightful. It points to the one thing which every human being is bound to – the Law of Love. The Jews were also bound to the Mosaic Law. To the things which marked them out as God’s chosen people among all the other nations.
But there is another law, one which is binding upon all mankind – the obligation to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength – and its necessary corollary – to love our neighbor as ourselves. This is what every human being is guilty of having transgressed – even those who did not sin in exactly the same way Adam did – and why death has reigned even in those who did not violate the first code – “thou shalt not eat…”
Behind every external code which may be expressed for mankind to obey, Jews or Gentiles – is this – the law of love. Nor is it a law in the same way as any external code. It is a law of “nature” if you will. It is the image we were originally created in. We were made to bear Christ’s image, who as man, truly loved the Lord with all His heart, mind, soul and strength (which is why he came and died – lovingly doing the Father’s will) and His neighbor as Himself – dying FOR US! This love is what is broken and defiled in us. This is what He is restoring in salvation.
And it is on this basis that every man will be judged. For every sin ultimately is but a defect of – this love. When we fail to love God rightly, supremely and entirely – we sin. Every sin shares this component – the failure to love God supremely. And, we cannot love men rightly, unless we first love God supremely. THIS – is what makes us “sinners.”
The manifestations of that sin are countless. But behind each and every particular manifestation – is the defect in the love we were created to live in. The failure to bear His image – the image of the God who “is love” (1 John 4:16). This is my commandment Jesus said, “that you love one another as I have loved you.” No hoops to jump through. No ceremonies to carry out. No high duties to accomplish. Take care that a full and right and consuming passion for God rules our hearts and minds – and all the rest will be accomplished by default. Fail at this, and nothing we do is worth a thing.
To love Him. To have Him as our highest prize, our chief delight, our deepest desire, our sweetest notion, our most lovely vision. To find Him more beautiful than anything. To see in Him every excellence, and to be compelled to look only at Him to the exclusion of all others. To want to know Him, be with Him, hear the music of His voice, feel His touch and smell the holy fragrance of His presence. To count knowing His heart and mind more precious than anything which can capture our imaginations or desires here. To find Him so pleasing, that nothing else can satisfy. This is to love Him in only the barest terms. Oh to study to love Him with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind and all my strength. This, is to cease from sin.
God willing Beloved, we’ll be back tomorrow.