“Mean what you say and say what you mean.” A good rule of thumb when it comes to communication. For instance, when my wife says, “Let’s have Thai for dinner,” it’s one thing for me to respond with, “A new Indian restaurant opened down the street” vs. “I rather have Indian food instead.”
When it comes to the Bible it’s easy to miss what was “meant” by what was “said” – especially when it comes to its laws and rules. Take for instance the Golden Rule. It says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” What does the Golden Rule ask for? Conformity, yes. But what is it after? Paul earlier in the letter wrote, “So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian” (Gal 3:24, 25). Meaning what? That if you listen carefully to the law, you will see not just what it asks for, but also see what it’s after …. a heart that says “I can’t do it, I need a savior.” Which means, anyone who says, “I’m following the Golden Rule, I don’t need Christ,” is actually not following the Golden Rule. It doesn’t just tell you how to live, but it tells you why you can’t. You need a savior. This extends to every aspect of the rules of God.
If you are not sure if you are going to heaven unless you live a good life, then everything you are doing is not for God, it’s for you. Grace teaches that you are completely accepted on the merits of Jesus Christ, so you don’t need anything FROM him, because you have it all. Grace also teaches us that God gets nothing OUT of us – because there is nothing we can do possibly FOR him (Acts 17). That leads us to a stunning conclusion: He loves us for who we are in ourselves and not for what we can give him.
When we realize this truth, our hearts begin to melt and you begin to find him awe-fully beautiful. To seek God for his things seem as irrelevant as seeking ice cream for the plate that it’s served on – you want HIM. You serve God for the joy and utter amazement of who he is in Himself.