Focal passages: Deuteronomy 5:32-33, Galatians 3:10-12, 19a, 24-25
We are unable to live up to God’s holy standard.
Take a stroll through “The Story of North Carolina” exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of History and you will most likely discover a collage of military portraits. Inside a small alcove there is a wall littered with the faces of nameless soldiers from the past – citizens willing and ready to sacrifice their lives defending their country.
Each of these soldiers was qualified to serve in the Army because they met certain standards. For example, they were healthy enough, strong enough and of an appropriate age.
Just as the military had standards for those who would join their ranks, God has clear expectations for those who desire to live in relationship with Him and experience His abundant life. In Deuteronomy 5:32, God calls His people to “do just as the Lord your God has commanded you.” His followers are to live in complete obedience. Although I’m certain that behind each somber face in that museum there is a moving story, I am always drawn to one photograph in particular. Hidden in the collage is a lady disguised as a gentleman. It appears as if she meets the military standard, but try as she might, she could never truly qualify as a soldier.
Because of our sin, we will never be able to qualify as living in complete obedience before God. And as Paul explains in Galatians 3:10b, “Everyone who does not continue doing everything written in the book of the law is cursed.”
There was no perfect solution for the female military imposter, but for those of us who long to live in communion with God, there is hope. True, we can never perfectly fulfill God’s law, but the law was designed to highlight our helplessness and “lead us to Christ” (Galatians 3:24). Jesus Christ obeyed the law perfectly and then took our curse upon Himself. He died in our place, and when we place our faith in His substitutionary work on our behalf, we are restored to a right relationship with God and can begin experiencing the true abundant life He designed.