Life means rules. Without them there would be anarchy. Sounds a bit strong, but if you are a parent you understand exactly what I mean.
The interesting thing about rules is that they’re in place to tell us when we’ll pay a price. We know deep inside, before anything happens, when we do something wrong. A few years ago, while driving home from Canada with some friends, I ignored the rules. Parked under an overpass was a police car waiting for some unsuspecting driver to “bend” the rules of the road. Yes, I was pulled over for speeding! Long before the flashing lights, or the tap on my window, I knew I had disobeyed the law. I was a law-breaker!
When God gave mankind the Ten Commandments, they weren’t put into place because mankind didn’t have any idea of right from wrong; the law was established so man could no longer deny that he was bending and breaking God’s rules and restrictions. When we do something wrong, do we try to wiggle our way out and make excuses? I knew the speed limit was 70, saw the signs, and knew the penalty, but getting caught made me face and acknowledge my own disobedience.
What James later writes in chapter 4:17, causes me to consider my own life. I didn’t necessarily need my parents or anyone else to point out when I did something wrong. Even if I was the most law-abiding driver on the road when it came to the speed limit, yet I disobeyed so many other laws such as wearing a seat belt or a “No Turn On Red” restriction, I would still “be guilty” of a moving violation and breaking the law – even if I never was caught! Consider Cain in the book of Genesis and the terrible act of sin he committed in killing his brother Abel; he thought he could fool God and get away with it (“Am I my brothers Keeper?”). God accounts for all sin – we can’t hide from Him.
James 2:10 reminds us that it’s impossible to live a righteous life by obeying every rule; eventually we’d fail, and by breaking only one law it would be as if we had broken them all – guilty and deserving of the penalty. In Romans 3:12, God’s Word further emphasizes this, “There is not one that practices goodness, there is not so much as one” (JND). I must confess that I “fall short” and no matter how hard I may try, I am still guilty of sin before Him. The Scripture tells me the penalty is death and separation from God for all eternity.
Are you thinking you can determine life’s outcome for eternity by how well you live life? Do you suppose that becoming a model citizen will in some way justify you as worthy of heaven? Look closely again at the verse in James 2. God knew no one could follow the law, and since everyone would stumble and break one or more, heaven would be unobtainable.
For this reason, He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die on Calvary so that you and I can reach heaven’s glory. Consider the Lord’s words on the cross, “It is finished!” Nothing needs to be added; nothing can be added. Our eternal security is through Christ alone. Today, you can be free from a life filled with empty rules by trusting Him as Savior.