January 16 I Saturday

Genesis 39-40

Matthew 11


“…not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.”  —Philippians 3:9


How would we fair if we took a test on God’s standard of holiness? During this COVID-19 pandemic, where we are spending an inordinate amount of time at home with our family, or while our life is on lockdown and lots of our civil liberties have been restricted, have we been angry with anyone? Have we maybe looked at someone and said, “You fool!” whether out loud or in our mind? Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment” (Matthew 5:21-22). If we have been angry with someone, we are subject to God’s judgment. 


Have we looked at someone lustfully? Maybe not physically with our eyes, but reading romance novels and coveting what is described in those books? Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28). If we have lusted, even in our mind, after a person, we are an adulterer. 


Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44). Do we love our enemies? Do we love those who hate us? Do we treat them well? Do we pray for them? 


How did we fair in all these questions? Do we feel like we do not measure up? Romans 3:10-12 tells us, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” This is God’s statement about humanity. 


The good news is that living a holy life is not about what we do for God. Rather, the central focus of the gospel is what Jesus did for us. When we place our faith in His work, His death, His burial and His resurrection, we receive His righteousness, His truth, His grace, His mercy and His forgiveness. God sends His Holy Spirit to live in us, to bring to life the very righteousness that He is. As we love God and take delight in the relationship we have with Him, His standard of holiness starts to become not merely a duty but our desire.


Prayer: Dear Lord God, by my own might, I can never live up to Your standard of holiness. Thank You that the gospel is about what Jesus did for me. Through Your Spirit, I desire to live righteously. 


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