IMITATING MY ELDER BROTHER, JESUS
…FATHER, in Your Word You command many things of me. But if I look at Your commands as just something I need to do I am in the wrong frame of mind. I do not say, “I believe in JESUS” and then add hard work to my faith.
“Martin Luther’s old formula still sums things up nicely: ‘We are saved by faith alone [not our works], but not by faith that remains alone.’ Nothing we do can merit God’s grace and favor, we can only believe that he has given it to us in Jesus Christ and receive it by faith. But if we truly believe and trust in the one who sacrificially served us, it changes us into people who sacrificially serve God and our neighbors” Timothy Keller (ref#123, p123-124).
“Religion operates on the principle of ‘I obey therefore I am accepted by God.’ The basic operating principle of the gospel is ‘I am accepted by God through the work of Jesus Christ—therefore I obey’” Timothy Keller (ref#123, p114).
Religion is “the default mode of my heart.” I have to deliberately and repeatedly set my heart to gospel-mode (ref#123, p114-115). I do that not by willfully doing good works but by feeding on the Gospel, digesting it so it becomes my motivating energy.
When the Apostle Paul gives a command, he doesn’t pressure directly on the will or on emotions but draws his listeners back to CHRIST and the work He did. As the hours go by in the day, if I keep thinking about how CHRIST lived out His life, I will soon realize how much His sacrificial love did for me—I will soon want to similarly sacrifice for others—be a comparable “elder brother.” In this mind-set I will complete jobs not to get them “checked off” but to do them because it is a joy to “do” for the One I love.
“Our problems arise largely because we don’t continually return to the gospel to work it in and live it out” (ref#123, p119). Let me repeat that: “Our problems arise largely because we don’t continually return to the gospel to work it in and live it out” Timothy Keller (ref#123, p119).
Looking through the lens of the Gospel my responsibilities named in Scripture become not heavy burdens but privileges to enjoy. There is no higher privilege than to work and suffer for CHRIST (ref#10, p244). It doesn’t get any better than that.