Honor your father and your mother… Exodus 20:12a
Recently, my youngest son told me that the older he gets (he is 24 now) the more he realizes all that his father and I have done for him. He went on to apologize for not always appreciating me and for the times he was ungrateful or dishonoring.
As a parent, that is always a blessing to hear. Part of my response to him was that maturity often brings a better appreciation for our parents and that it was true of me with my mom and dad as well. As I considered his words and thought about my own life, I realized afresh the profundity of my sins against my own parents. It grieves me to think about the myriad ways I broke the fifth commandment, especially during my years as a young adult.
It strikes me that Jesus did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. There is a wider sense to this truth, but it also applies more narrowly to my failure to honor my parents. Jesus fulfilled every nuance of what it means to honor and obey His earthly parents and His Heavenly Father. Because of Christ’s perfect obedience, God credits Christ’s righteousness to me through faith. (See Romans 4.)
The Gospel in a nutshell: For our sake, He [God] made Him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5:21)
Although Jesus lived a perfectly righteous life, God credited my sin to Christ and punished Him for it. Jesus didn’t deserve the cross, I did. But the beauty of the Gospel shines even brighter here, for not only does God impute my sin to Jesus, He also imputes Jesus’ perfect obedience to me.
This is Good News! Earth-shaking, momentous, joyous and freeing Good News!
Read John Bunyan, writer of Pilgrim’s Progress:
“One day as I was passing into the field . . . this sentence fell upon my soul. Thy righteousness is in heaven. And methought, withal, I saw with the eyes of my soul Jesus Christ at God’s right hand; there, I say, was my righteousness; so that wherever I was, or whatever I was doing, God could not say of me, he wants [lacks] my righteousness, for that was just before [in front of] him. I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse, for my righteousness was Jesus Christ himself, “The same yesterday, today and, and forever” (Heb. 13:8).
Now did my chains fall off my legs indeed. I was loosed from my afflictions and irons; my temptations also fled away; so that from that time those dreadful scriptures of God left off to trouble me; now went I also home rejoicing for the grace and love of God.” (John Bunyan, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners)
Because of Christ, there is nothing I can do that will make God love me any more, and there is nothing I can do that will make God love me any less. The righteousness of Christ is mine. Stunning, indeed!
By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel