Deuteronomy 10:12-13 (NRSV)
So now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? Only to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and his decrees that I am commanding you today, for your own well-being.
Galatians 2:16 (KJV)
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
As I contemplate what Jesus’s death on the cross means for us, I believe that God sent Jesus to Earth to repair the relationship between mankind and God, which had been disrupted by mankind’s sin and evil as well as the failure to obey God’s law. Jesus restored that relationship and overcame original sin through his death, sacrifice, and resurrection, thereby ensuring through the grace of God that we all will receive eternal salvation without regard to what we do or do not do on Earth. God collectively elected (and elects) everyone to eternal salvation by his grace and love, and nothing one does can earn or disqualify one from that eternal salvation. We are justified (i.e., made right with God) by the faith of Jesus (Galatians 2:16 (KJV)).
The assurance of eternal salvation frees us to work to meet the mandate and obligations in Deuteronomy 10:12-13. We should be firm in the belief that our relationship to God has been restored by Jesus’ death, and our task is to share and speak that message, through words and deeds, as witnesses to God’s eternal love and grace. With our salvation ensured, we face the same challenge that Christians through the years have faced: to maintain and preserve our communion and relationship with God by living a life in accord with the teachings of Jesus as guided by the Holy Spirit and Scripture. We will all inevitably fall short on our side of the relationship, but acceptance of the call to the vocation of being a Christian enables us to use the resources and gifts that we have been blessed with to live out God’s will here on Earth in gratitude (rather than in the self-interest of earning merit) for the unmerited grace and love endowed upon us.
Lord, please help us to love you and your son Jesus with all of our heart, mind, and soul and to live according to the guidance you and Jesus have given us. Help us to realize that Jesus’ death on the cross sets us free to seek that goal without concern that what we do on Earth will affect the salvation which you have promised.