That’s impossible!

One of the more challenging parts of reading through the Bible is your encounter with the Law of Moses. Beginning in Genesis and stretching though Deuteronomy you discover more than 600

different commands, ranging from “thou shalt not kill” to “thou shalt not wear a garment woven from two different kinds of thread.”

There are the minute details of building the Tabernacle and the intricacies of the high priest’s robe and rituals of purification. There are laws concerning farming, marriage, work, Sabbaths, feasts, festivals, servitude, and even what kind of food you can eat (clean vs. unclean). There are commands governing skin diseases, restitution, cooking, hand washing, and even sexual intimacy. In short, there are no areas of life not touched by the rigors of the Law.

Read it for yourself and you find that it’s dizzying even keeping up with what you can and can not do on certain days and what you can and can not eat on other days. If it seems overwhelming to you, then it has done its work. It is, for any human, impossible to keep, and that is its message. Israel never kept it, even the Passover celebrations and Sabbath years, which were to be mainstays of the community and markers of Israel’s faithfulness. See Deuteronomy 9:7, 24; 31:27; Acts 7:52, 53.

The problem comes when people think they have kept it, as did the Pharisees. They actually believed that because they had observed certain ritual purity laws, somehow that commended them to God, even while they looked down on others and lorded it over them with God’s commandments. This is why Jesus’ strongest rebukes were leveled at them (Luke 11:37-54). For it is self-righteousness and pride which keep us from coming to God to ask forgiveness.

The Pharisees are long gone, but their spirit remains today in all those who think that their sacrifices and good deeds will save them. Let’s be sure we are not among them. Let’s be certain that our trust and hope are not in our being sinless, but in Jesus, who, through His sacrifice, takes away our sin.

“He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness,but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration
and renewal of the Holy Spirit,whom he poured out on us richly
through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
Titus 3:5–6

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