22nd August 2016 - Bruce Mackay
Jesus continued to teach from the mountainside. As soon as He had finished teaching on the nine attitudes for true happiness, He moved right onto the subject of how to be right with God so that we can enter the kingdom of heaven. Everyone wants to go to heaven! We all hope we will make it. But how? By what means? What is the criteria? Do all roads lead to heaven? Many people have opinions. Some say to just do the best you can; God understands that He can’t ask for anything more than your best effort. Others say you must be baptised, while others insist that you must belong to a certain religion. There is an old song about getting to the pearly gates […]
Becoming a love slave
When we operate by religiously motivated law, we may determine that the most important thing is to be willing to be a slave. That is not actually the issue. We are already slaves, either of sin or righteousness. We need to be slaves of righteousness because we are constrained by love. This is what true liberty is. As we continue in that liberty, not using it as an occasion to the flesh, we continue to freely say, ‘Not my will, but Yours, Lord’.
The defining issue is not whether we simply ‘do the will of another’, but whether it is the will of the Lord, motivated by His Spirit. For each of us, the key is our motivation. Are we motivated by the flesh or by the Spirit? When we live by the Spirit, we are free to lay our lives down because of the constraint of love, not because we are bound by our ‘other law’. In this regard, we are reminded of the significance of a Hebrew ‘love-slave’. Having served their tenure, a Hebrew slave was no longer bound by law to be a slave. They needed to make a decision whether to stay or leave, and they were ‘completely free’ to make that choice. The love-slave chose to stay and serve his master because he loved his master.
If we genuinely receive the message of reconciliation, then the love of the Lord will be poured into our hearts. If we set our minds on this, then serving the Lord will follow, and we will be saved by Christ’s life. When our mind is set on the flesh, then our activity may look very similar, but it will bring no fruit of righteousness. We are truly free when we are released from the bondage of our other law and motivated solely by the love of God to be His bondslave and lay down our life for one another.