Saturday, June 18, 2011
Jesus, Our Example for What?
When Jesus was on earth, He lived a sinless life. Some say that because Jesus lived a sinless life, we can do the same. But is that true? Does Jesus really expect us to? My position is that He does not!
Firstly, Jesus was/is God. Jesus, as man, did not have a sinful nature so He could not sin. Humans are born with a sinful nature and will continue to sin as long as they have a sinful nature. In essence, Jesus did not come to show us how we can live a sinless life, He came to do it for us.
The Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) church teaches that in the incarnation, Jesus came to show us how to keep God’s law perfectly, and “he took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin,” possessing neither omniscience nor omnipresence. (Christ’s Humiliation by Ellen G. White, The Youth’s Instructor, December 20, 1900). (emphasis mine)
SDA’s encourage their congregants to attempt the impossible by trying to be ‘good enough’ to make it to heaven. It is true that Jesus left us (believers) an example to follow, but what was it? I submit to you that Jesus left His believers an example showing them how to:
· Do good. (Acts 10:38
· Love. (1 John 4:16-17)
· Show humility. (John 13:14)
· Give of self (self-sacrifice). (1 John 3:16-18)
· Patiently endure suffering. (1 Peter 2:21)
· Be totally dependent on the Father. (John 5:30)
· Be led by the Spirit. (Luke 4:1)
· Pray. (Matthew 6:9-13)
· Forgive. (Luke 23:34)
A valid question is, “Didn’t Jesus also leave us an example to go into the synagogue on the Sabbath day since it was His custom?” Well, firstly, Jesus went into the synagogue every Sabbath to teach because He was born a Jew and under Jewish law, which included Sabbath keeping on the 7th day. Secondly, the written law was given to Israel and not Gentiles. Gentile Christians did not and never have had the written law and are foreigners to it. (see Ephesians 2:11-13) And thirdly, when Jesus died on the Cross, He fulfilled the law in its entirety and He (a Person) is now our Sabbath rest.
Mattthew 11:28 reads, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (emphasis mine)
A day has no power to ‘give’ rest but it can be ‘set aside’ for rest. Only Jesus (a Person) can give rest IF we believe His Word.
When we come to Christ and are born again, we are born of the Spirit and we are led by the Spirit. The function of the Spirit is to lead and guide us into all truth. The Spirit also empowers us to do His bidding, thus no need for the written law. Galatians 5:18 (NIV) reads, “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.’
Again, some SDAs make outlandish statements by saying that when believers say they are not under the law, they are lawless and are free to do whatsoever they desire. This is absurdity at its best. A living Spirit is leading, guiding and empowering believers – not written laws that can only point out sin and has no power to empower or save.
The Spirit-led life is about inward change. It’s not about a legalistic list of do’s and don’ts to be checked off twice to see if we’ve been naughty or nice. It’s about love, forgiveness, being kind, caring, humility, self-sacrificing, suffering patiently, praying, being led by the Spirit and being completely dependent on the Father, etc. It’s about the ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ against such there is no law. The ‘work’ we are suppose to do is to love God and love others.
Every example Jesus left for us to emulate has to do with doing good, helping others and being a good example ourselves to save others by pointing them to the Father. No where did He tell us to live a sinless life because we can’t in our sinful nature. Any goodness or righteousness we possess comes as a result of our faith in the death, burial and resurrection of our Savior.
CHRIST IS OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS! I Cor. 1:30 (NIV) reads, ”It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.”
Christ lived for us; Christ died for us; Christ rose from the grave for us and Christ wants us to accept what He has already done for us.
In the end, we shall be rewarded according to how well or how little we loved others – not according to what day we worshipped on.
Matthew 25:37-40 (NIV) reads:
37 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' 40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
Take your worry, your pain, your guilt, and your restlessness to Jesus. He loves you and He bids you to come to Him to find rest for your soul. It is not about what you can do but it’s about what He has already done for you. I invite you to take your burdens to the Lord and leave them there.