The impossible made possible

Jesus set an extremely high bar when he walked this earth! When he was asked by religious leaders of his day what the greatest commandment was, Jesus replied “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Mt 22:37). Most of us know that we regularly fail to live up to this “greatest” commandment. One unrighteous thought, and we’ve failed!

Jesus continued by saying “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt 22:39). In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus masterfully countered attempts to narrowly define the term “neighbo.” He taught, instead, that anyone we encounter who needs our mercy is our neighbor, and we are to “love them as we love ourselves.”

Loving ourselves is so deeply engrained in our sinful nature that we probably don’t even realize how much we do it. If someone slanders us, we automatically defend ourselves. If someone is unjust to us, we automatically seek justice. If we are hungry, we eat. If we need clothes, we find a way to get them. The list of what we do for ourselves goes on and on because we “naturally” love ourselves and strive to care for ourselves. But Jesus commanded us to do those things for our neighbors. He commanded us to do those things for “anyone” needing our mercy!

If you’re feeling a little inadequate for the task at this point, join the club! But let’s look at just one more commandment before we move on. Jesus said “be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). That one will bring most of us to our knees, admitting that we can’t possibly live up to God’s standards. We must admit that it is “impossible” for us to do so!

But that’s the whole reason Jesus came, isn’t it? The very fact that it is literally impossible for us to “achieve” the perfect righteousness required for us to enter the presence of a perfectly Holy God is the very reason God sent a perfectly righteous, perfectly Holy, Savior. Jesus came to make the impossible possible for all who would repent and trust in Him alone for their salvation. He made this clear when He said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (Jn 14:6).

The bad news is that it is impossible for anyone to “achieve” the perfect righteousness we need to enter the presence of God for eternity! The good news is that God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21). Jesus offers His Perfect Righteousness in trade for the sin of those He died for on the cross. Accept his offer of salvation today, I pray!

The writer is the assistant to the pastor of First Baptist Church, Sidney.