Uh Oh

You don't want to hear the words "uh oh" when you're descending for your landing, or at the hair salon, or with your tax accountant, or on a tandem skydive, or when you're with the guy who's diffusing the bomb. You also don't want to hear Jesus say it when he's talking about your chances of getting to see God.

But that's what he does in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:17-30. He's delivering bad news for those of us who think we can somehow earn our way to God. We can brag about how we haven't murdered or slept around, but then Jesus comes and says if we hate, we have the heart of a murderer and if we lust, we have the heart of an adulterer.

Uh oh.

I hear people say things like this all the time: "I'm just hoping the good in my life outweighs the bad". Or how about this: "When I compare myself to others, I don't look so bad." I think it's easy for us to step into this trap that we are not so bad and that somehow we can win the approval of God. But then Jesus in his Great Sermon, drops a new standard which smashes conventional wisdom: PERFECTION.

Uh oh.

Here's where the good news comes in. Jesus makes possible what we cannot. This is why we need to trust in what Jesus Christ has done for us. The grace of God makes it possible for us to get to God. We can't do it.

I am pretty sure when we stand in the presence of our God one day, we will with joy be thankful that the grace of God did it's work to get us there. We will realize at that moment that if it were up to ourselves, we would have no chance at all. Here, we argue the merits of our "righteousness" and goodness; there, we will realize our goodness had nothing to do with it. Jesus did it.

The Way of Jesus is not about self-righteousness or earning favor with God. The Way of Jesus is about trusting in God's good work, not ours. Again, he's turned things upside down.