Summary: Even wonder if it is possible to be holy as God is holy? Peter made this statement but did he truly believe that a fallen people could ever fulfill this command? It is possible to be holy but only for those who have been given a new heart!
GOD’S LAWS WRITTEN ON A NEW HEART
Online Sermon: http://www.mckeesfamily.com/?page_id=3567
Ever wonder if it is possible to obey the command to be holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:16)? Even though Adam and Eve who walked and talked with God in paradise only had four simple commands: to be fruitful, increase in number, take care of or rule over the fish, birds and animals and to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 1:27-30, 2:15-17); they sinned against God. Even though Israel wandered in the wilderness, separate from the evils of the foreign nations, they too could not obey God’s commands. Tozer is correct when he said, “humanity’s noblest efforts at purity are merely dust building upon dust” for the sins engraved on their stone hearts are entrenched so deep that any decree of holiness is seen as mere foolishness to those who are perishing in their sins (1 Corinthians 1:18). And for those who are saved do we not share Apostle Paul’s predicament, every time we do good evil is not only present but also obeyed (Romans 7:18-20)? So, does this mean that God’s command to be holy is beyond our reach? In today’s sermon we are going to find out that once God writes His laws upon one’s heart they can be obeyed!
Which of God’s Laws are we to Obey?
Are those who believe in God to obey His laws and if so which ones? For example, are we to obey the 613 moral, cultural and judicial laws of the Old Testament? Most Christians would instantly object for if the law had not been set aside in His flesh (Ephesians 2:14-25) “then neither has the Levitical priesthood, and Christ is not our High Priest today.” Since no one will be justified (Romans 3:11) and declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law (Romans 3:20) then why follow that which can only bring wrath (Romans 4:15) and death (Romans 4:15, 7:10)? While we are not to place the yoke of the Law (Acts 15:10) around our necks as those who are slaves to sin (Romans 6:15) we are to continue to obey the spirit of the Law. As born again believers we are to “live under the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2) or the law of the Spirit of life in Christ (Romans 8:2). While the law of Christ contains only some of the written commands of the Old Testament, the spirit or reason behind these Mosaic commands are still to be obeyed by every born again believer. So, when we read the letter of the Old Testament law saying do not murder or commit adultery; Jesus says we are to obey the spirit of these laws that says to not hate or lust after one another (Matthew 5).
Humanity’s Struggle to Obey God
Knowing the Law of Christ is one thing, but obedience is quite another! Obedience to His commands not only shows we love Jesus (John 14:21) but also is the means in which we draw nearer to Him and Him to us (James 4:8-10)! Knowing this to be true however does not remove the struggle to stop sinning. Even in the most perfect of conditions humanity has been far from holy. Has there ever been a more perfect environment than the Garden of Eden to encourage obedience? Having only four instead of 600 plus laws, surely Adam and Eve could remain faithful after all if they ever had any questions they got to speak to God face to face! And what about the children of Israel’s journey in the wilderness? Would not being separate from the evil of this world (1 John 2:15) make obedience to God who was ever present in the pillar of the cloud and fire and the Ark of the Covenant, obtainable? And yet when given a choice Adam and Israel’s desire to love and obey the god of self was simply stronger than their desire to love and obey the God of Israel!
Charles Spurgeon summarizes humanity’s condition well when he said, “on the footing of the law, God never did have communion with man, and never can have, since man has fallen.” Since the human heart is “blotted, blurred, blacked, smeared, smudged, fouled, and stained,” our attempts at righteousness will forever remain no more than filthy rags in God’s sight (Isaiah 64:6)! In respect to sin we are like David and are sinful at birth (Psalms 51:5) and later like Paul who new the good he ought to do but could not do it. Our attempts to stop being “gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful” (Romans 1:28-30) are like writing in the sand box one’s goals only to later have it shaken and destroyed by our old-self’s desire to be like this world and constantly gratify the evil desires of our hearts (James 1:14)! No matter how hard we strive our black, stony hearts simply cannot remain faithful for who can stand with a foundation built on the shifting sands of our desires? While God chose to write once on stone (Exodus 31:18), He refuses to write on an unstable, treacherous thing as an unrenewed heart, for how can His pure eyes ever look upon evil (Habakkuk 1:13)?