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First Things First

by Fenny West  
6/11/2008 / Christian Living

8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God
Micah 6:8 (New International Version)

Have you ever thought: What does God require of me? How can I get right with God? How can I have the peace of God?
Some people have thought being right with God is doing good deeds, like being charitable, being kind, stopping smoking, praying , going to church, being baptized, punishing one's self, climbing a mountain to show humility etc. etc.
In the Old Testament it was the case that man tried to appease God by keeping the Ten Commandments. Besides the Ten Commandments, they also had hundreds of rules and regulations that were like a mill stone on the necks of the people. They tried to appease God but no one was able to keep the law perfectly. They could not do it in their strength.
This was why we had to have another covenant that came through Jesus Christ- the Law of the Sprit of life. If the Old covenant was sufficient there would have been no need for Jesus to die on the Cross.
No one can earn their salvation. All our righteousness is just like filthy rags before the Lord. Paul in spite of his legalistic righteousness came to a place where he regarded every thing as rubbish for the sake of knowing Christ. He had to judge his past to move forward. Everyone of us must come to that place.
15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to Godthrough Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
Paul in the above scripture acknowledged the futility of trying to please God by keeping the Law. we will always fall short of God's glory so we need to surrender like Paul did:
24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to Godthrough Jesus Christ our Lord!
Only Jesus can save from condemnation, damnation and separation. Only Jesus can reconcile any man to God- not our good works; not our piety, not our religious credentials.

I was a religious man until 1981 when I realize that trying to be good to please God was foolishness. God opened my eyes to see that I was lost and without hope. I accepted the Lord and was born again.
The law we were told was like a school master that brought us to the cross. It is through Jesus that we cross over to the other side.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.Gal3:24
For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ John1:17
We are justified by faith n Jesus, not in our righteousness or goodness No one is good by God's standard. We have all missed the mark.

10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: Rom.3:10
10For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. James2:10
Jesus is the way to rightness with God. Acceptance of Jesus as our Lord and Saviour is the first thing we need to do. He gives us access to the Father. He gives us peace with God. Doing any good deeds before accepting Christ as Lord and Saviour is like putting the cart before the horse which is futile.
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
Eccl 12:13
We the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and the first commandment according to Jesus is to love God with all your heart. You cannot love the Lord with all your heart if you reject His Son, His Redemption plan, the perfect sacrifice, the Mediator between God and man.
For He who knew no sin was made to be sin so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faithand this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God 9not by works, so that no one can boast
Ephesians 2:8-9 (New International Version)
9That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."12For there is no difference between Jew and Gentilethe same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."[Rom 10::9-10
33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Mat 6:33

Let's put first things first- Jesus first, salvation first, peace with God first, then our names will be written in the Lamb's Book of Life. We can then follow this step with good works because we are children of light, and co-workers with Him. Yes we were created for good works but not before we accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

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