2/2/16: Do It All
One of the toughest things I have to do as a high school teacher is watch students fail. No matter how much I go over the material, insist that they actually do all of the reading and assignments, and warn against procrastination, some students simply don’t believe “fat meat is greasy.” Inevitably the end of the semester comes and enough things have been done incorrectly to warrant the failing grade. Through the tears comes the predictable question, “But what about the work I passed?” The answer: The work that needed to be successfully completed was not a surprise. It was all on the syllabus given out and explained the first day of class. The work you did not pass tainted the work you did pass. To pass the class, you needed to pass it all.
It’s a comfort to me as a teacher to see that the great Teacher faced the same question. In Matthew chapter 19, a man came to Jesus wondering what was necessary to “pass the class.” The guy asked, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” Jesus answered, “…if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” Matthew 19:16-17 (NKJ). The syllabus was clear, “Keep the commandments.” This guy came back just as my students do at the end of the semester, “He said to Him, ‘Which ones?’” Matthew 19:18a (NKJ).
What a silly question. What did the guy think Jesus meant when He said, “Keep the commandments”? Jesus meant, “Keep all of the commandments.” As you read on through verse 22, Jesus enumerated some of the commandments to him and the guy started to make the argument that he had “passed” in those classes. But when Jesus got to the issue of coveting, there was nothing more for guy to say. He failed in that area and he realized that his fail there had tainted his pass in the other areas. He walked away with a failing grade because he did not intend to get that one right.
James 2:10 says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (NIV). It’s time to stop making excuses for our sins and shortcomings. We can obey God’s word, and God has given us the syllabus to follow – the Bible – whereby we can successfully get it done. He’s also given us the means. Romans 8:3-4 states, “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (NKJ).
We’re required to do it all. Thankfully for us, even though “doing it all” is impossible, Jesus’ righteousness has been credited to our account. As far as God’s concerned, we fulfill the requirements of the Law because He sees Jesus’ righteousness when He looks at us. Now, with Jesus as our Savior and the Holy Ghost as our power, we can live our lives day-to-day in obedience to the Spirit of God. The law of God is written in our hearts. We pass.
©2016 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.
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