Being Acceptable to God

You’re certainly not here (as a believer) to read more about what you already know doesn’t work.

I’m referring to leading a life that’s acceptable to God by being a good person, by going to church, by keeping the Ten Commandments, by following the examples of faith in Proverbs and the Psalms, even by emulating Jesus and the Apostles.

Those are wonderful traits and admirable goals. But regardless of appearances –and in spite of the striving and prayers for more strength– they are impossible to maintain . . . inwardly . . . where it really counts.

The word gospel means “good news” –and all that striving and praying for strength surely aren’t consistent with His invitation . . .

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

If each successive failure has left you ridden with more guilt and seemingly pushed Him further and further away, try something fresh that does work. It agrees with the key matters that we learned in church and it can make “His rest” the normal state of your life.

His Simple Measure

To start with, God has only used the two original laws –the ones given in the Garden of Eden– as His standard for our being acceptable. He presented them using two trees –both known by their fruit. A little later we’ll see why the others were added. In the meantime, here are some highlights of those two.

After putting them in the middle of the garden, He pointed out the indispensable tree first: the tree of life –then the other: the tree of death.

Essentially God said “When you try to take over My role as the Judge of good and evil, you will also find yourself severed from Me –your spirit separated from My Spirit.” That’s the death pictured in Genesis 2:16-17.

By eating the fruit, Eve revealed that she (regardless of the warning) would decide for herself what was good and what was evil –and Adam followed her. That incident identifies the single act and corresponding result for what the New Testament calls the law of sin and death. We are born into that predicament –separated from God –we’re lifeless. But He offers the remedy . . .

Jesus was referring to Himself as the fruit from the tree of life (the cross) when He said “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (from John 6:51-58).

Trusting Him to be the source of our eternal life identifies the single act and corresponding result for what the New Testament calls the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.

Those two laws –along with the ones that came later– were established to show us that God loves us so much that He provided His Remedy (life) in advance of our condition (death).

The trouble in the garden wasn’t over obtaining knowledge. It was becoming familiar with judging between what’s good and what’s evil. That’s God’s role –it’s not ours.

And just as He did for that first couple, He makes us totally acceptable to Himself by taking away our fig leaves and wrapping us securely within His Lamb . . . the One who took on our punishment and who is protecting us from ever being separated again.

I’m sure you’re asking “If I’m already acceptable then why are there so many do’s and don’ts in the Bible –especially the Ten Commandments?” Read on . . .