What are the things that you get in trouble for the most? Think about it for a few moments. Most people live a pretty decent life. Most never kill, or steal, or commit adultery, or make graven images. Most youth don’t do drugs and have sex and come home drunk. So what most youth get in trouble for is things they don’t do. They don’t call to say they will be home late. They don’t clean their room. They don’t complete their homework.
Because most of us never commit the sins laid out in the Ten Commandments, we have a hard time relating to them. Because we can’t relate to what the purposes of those laws were, pastors and teachers nowadays try to hypothetically translate them the way Jesus did. We say things like “If you watch pornography you are committing adultery.” Or “if you hate someone it is like killing them”. But if you take a look at the ministry of Jesus, He didn’t spend a lot of time talking about the don’ts of God’s kingdom, but the do’s.
Jesus spent a lot of time telling us what the people who live in the kingdom do. God gave many of those laws to Moses before the children of Israelentered the promised land and became an actual nation. And if you read through the old testament it is pretty much full of “fall away from God, Repent, Follow God for a while, Fall away again”. Having all of the laws and regulations didn’t help them have a better relationship with God. It didn’t help them treat each other better or understand God better. They just knew what they were and weren’t supposed to do. Part of that problem was that they could put away a book of laws and ignore it.
Jesus as the creator of life and co-author of the laws understood the intent of the laws. He knew it wasn’t about what was right or wrong, but it was all about the relationship. So when he came to earth he sought to clarify the laws. Look at the way Jesus rephrased the entire law “Love the Lord your God and Love your neighbor”. He didn’t say “Don’t hate God and don’t hate your neighbor”. Jesus set up a new standard of following God. Up to this point in history everyone thought they needed these rules spelling out what they should and shouldn’t be doing. There were dietary laws and Sabbath laws and cleanliness laws. There were laws for just about everything. But Jesus knew that those laws were not helping people live the life he wanted them to. He even goes as far as saying that there will be a lot of people in the end who say “Lord, Lord” and he will say “I never knew you”.
So what am I getting at? Followers of Christ are meant to do for others. It is not just about not doing the things that God dislikes, but doing the things God does like. Are you giving water to the thirsty, giving food to the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting those in prison, and visiting the sick?