“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27

 What came to my mind as we talked about the passage was a proverb repeated several times in the Book of Proverbs.

There is a way that appears to be right,
but in the end it leads to death.  Proverbs 14:12

I was concerned as to whether there might be those in the Christian community who thought their house was built on rock, but were mistaken. Is it rock or is it not? And that took me to the consideration of the following passage, a place where people have been stumbling ever since the Galatian church so long ago.

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.”
Galatians 1:6-7

The Galatians had returned to the Law — to being good enough. It is to that way of thinking that Jesus said this.

“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:13

Jesus was concerned that people would be engaged in doing for doing’s sake, not because of a change in the nature of their hearts. They would try to get to heaven by being good. But there is no formula. If we simply do this and that, and follow these rules, we will reap a great reward. That is sacrifice. It is a head thing. Mercy is a heart thing. It is no longer about me; it is about my love of my Savior, and him working through me. If I make it about works, I am traveling that path in the proverb that leads to death. I need to allow Jesus to do the driving.

So how do I know? Jesus gave us the perfect answer as He responded to one of Satan’s temptations.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4

I need to be certain to do two things. Know what God’s instructions are for me by spending time every day in His Word. And then talking to Him a lot. He is always there to answer my questions.


by Bruce Hanson


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