Today I am thankful to know how gracious God is to those who fear Him and believe the Gospel.
Have you ever noticed the way we create senselessly complex systems? Look at government for example. Where is the efficiency in a "Robert's Rules of Order" system? If a church follows those rules the knee jerk response to everything becomes a sub-committee. Maybe you've heard the old joke, "How many subcommittees does it take to get a job done?" The answer: "Maybe one more!"
We especially wrestle that beast in the practice of religion. Do you notice the endless complexities of merit based religions? Adherents commit themselves to exhausting rituals that can go on for days and weeks, only to be repeated in the next religious cycle. They commit themselves to personal deprivation that can lead to physical harm. In the case of a jihadis they can even be called to actions that physically harm others.
I have a question though. How much of that kind of system is from the hands of sinful men, and how much of that is simply due to the pervasive nature of sin in the adherent? Have you ever noticed how complex the laws of the Old Testament are? Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy spell out a system of sacrifice, rule and ritual that absolutely SCREAMS for grace. In fact, that is how we arrive at this passage from Micah. The Scripture reads:
6) “With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7) Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” 8) He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:6-9 ESV)
The whole spectrum of religious practice is contained in the question "With what shall I come before the Lord?" How desperate . . . complex . . . and unattainable if we are trying to accomplish this ourselves. There is nothing besides Christ that allows one into the Lord's presence. After one has believed the Gospel, how can they know their life is pleasing to this merciful and powerful Creator?
James 1:27 "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." Which agrees with Micah 6:6-8, the child of God (someone who has truly believed the Gospel) will manifest the fruits of repentance which are justice, compassion and pursuing holiness (see Luke 3:7-14). It is not a complex sacrificial and ritual system, but a relationship between this God and the grateful recipient of His grace.
Thank you God for the "easy yoke" (Matt 11:28-30) of the Gospel in your presence. Our works are not meritorious, but a living offering from thankful hearts.