Matthew 9:10-13 ESV
And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the …righteous, but sinners.”
Our faith is evidenced by a repentant heart. As it is perfected, and as we actively seek God’s will and presence in our lives, as we grow in this restored and personal relationship with God, our lives on the outside will be evidence of this change on the outside.
It is not reluctant obedience to a set of laws and repeated confession that God seeks (sacrifice). But God seeks a change in the heart to repentance that comes from grattitude for this free gift of grace – which results in varying degrees of eagerness and hungery pursuit of Him – as our faith grows and matures.
Both should produce the end result of outward, visible change and reverence to God’s guidance, and self control to not be controlled by sin in our own lives. But one is the change on the inside, cleaning the cup on the inside, doing it willingly and gratefully, and seeing His works and His change come alive in us, while the other is relying on our own works and only washing the outside of the cup. And He expects us to extend the same forgiveness to others that we have received (mercy).
Until someone is unveiled to the truth of this good news of the gospel, their hearts will be hardened to only see the Word of God as a convicting law consisting of rules and consequences, which is the letter of the law that leads to death. But Jesus Christ died for a purpose, to free us from sin – so we might receive Christ in us who can fulfill the law.
He did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.
Had Christ come into your life so that it can be fulfilled?
Or are you striving to do it on your own?
Or have you given up trying?
Or have you never really believed this Word of God to be truth?
Our belief, our faith – just like Abraham – is what is counted as righteousness. It creates change in our lives. If we believe, and we have this gift of the Holy Spirit, it should be producing fruit of the Spirit. And if we are walking in love and producing fruits of love, doesn’t the Word of God tell us that all the law, and all the words of the prophets hang on loving God and loving one another?
So, let Christ in you fill your life with an abundance of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, self control, and long suffering on the inside of the cup – that fulfills the law and is an example to others in our outward, visible life.
If we walk in the Holy Spirit, won’t He fulfill the requirements of the law? If we put on His righteousness, won’t we be wearing clothes of bright, shining white?