“What the world needs now,” reveal the lyrics of a once-popular song, “is love, sweet love.” Unfortunately, a similar song moans that most of us are “looking for love in all the wrong places.” Can you relate? Almost everyone—including you and me—has a deep inner need to experience real love; but unfortunately, actually finding something so priceless seems like an illusive dream.
All too often, it remains unreachable.
The Holy Bible informs us that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Not only that, but it also tells us that Earth’s Maker has a special message of love uniquely designed for these “last days” (2 Timothy 3:1). Believe it or not, His end-time message combines love and law (see Revelation 14:12-14) for the simple reason that true love is moral. In other words, love involves more than fluffy feelings without substance.
Every nation, government, state, city, and town has laws. Without laws, chaos reigns. But there is one law that towers above all other legal codes: the Ten Commandments. What makes the Big Ten different from other laws is that they were originally written, not with a pen, pencil, keyboard, or even hi-tech voice recognition software, but “with the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18). Read Exodus 20:1–17 for the full version. In a nutshell, here are the Ten Commandments in plain language:
1. Put God first.
2. Don’t worship idols.
3. Respect God’s name.
4. Keep the seventh day (Saturday) holy.
5. Honor your father and mother.
6. Don’t murder.
7. Don’t commit adultery.
8. Don’t steal.
9. Don’t lie.
10. Don’t covet.
Try to imagine what society would be like if everyone actually kept these commandments. Thieves wouldn’t exist. There would be no serial killers or even bullies. Jails, locks on doors, or even a police force would not be needed. How about The Department of Homeland Security? No, for there would be no terrorists, hijacked planes, or deadly bombs. Instead, all human beings would treat each other with decency, kindness, and respect. In such an environment, families would flourish, children would grow up safe, and happiness would thrill every heart.
Come down from the clouds, you may be thinking; this could never happen. Really? Guess what? I know this may seem hard to fathom, but the Good Book predicts that someday it will. “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5), promises God Almighty. Not only that, but you can live forever in that Paradise, if you make the right choice. Let me explain.
The mystery is hidden within an ancient prophecy about Jesus Christ. “Now this is His name by which He will be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jeremiah 23:6). The word “righteousness,” or “right doing,” simply means to keep the Ten Commandments, “the law of righteousness” (see Romans 9:31) without a flaw. Obviously, none of us has ever been there or done that. Instead, “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23). But the good news is that nearly two thousand years ago—in a supreme act of love—Jesus kept the Ten Commandments (see John 15:10) for us, on our behalf. As a result, He is now “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
Now here’s some bad news we can’t avoid. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). In other words, the divine penalty for breaking the Ten Commandments is eternal destruction. Justice requires it. There’s no escaping it. On the other hand, here’s more good news: At the end of His earthly life, “Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3) on a cruel cross in our behalf too, which means He can now forgive us, remove our guilt, and wash us clean!
Do you enjoy receiving gifts? My children, ages 5 and 8, surely do. What kid doesn’t? Now don’t miss this. God Almighty has a free “gift of righteousness” (see Romans 5:17) for you that can give you “eternal life” (see Romans 6:23). If you are willing to turn from sin and to believe in Jesus as your Savior, He will apply Christ’s perfect obedience to the Ten Commandments in place of your sins in His heavenly record books (see Revelation 20:12). “Innocent!” “Not Guilty!” “Forgiven!” will be spoken about you by the King of the universe, no matter what crimes or sins you have committed.
This brings us back to the universal search for genuine love. Here’s a story to illustrate. A reckless teenager once had a terrible argument with his dad. As he stormed out of the house, his last words were, “I’m leaving. You will never see me again!” The boy thought he could make it on his own, but after three difficult years remorseful thoughts turned toward home. Will my father take me back? he wondered fearfully. Two days later, the boy finally gathered the courage to phone his mother. “Mom, please talk to dad. Tell him I will be passing by the foot of our hill on a train next Monday afternoon. Ask him to hang something white on the porch if he wants me back. If I see anything white, I’ll come home.” Then he hung up.
On that Monday morning, a worried teenager boarded the train and happened to sit next to a minister. “Why are you so nervous?” The pastor inquired. The boy then told him the whole story. “Mister,” he said, “when we roll around the curve ahead, will you look out the window at the house on the top of the hill? That’s my house. If you see anything white, tell me. I’m too scared to look!”
As the train rounded the last bend and the minister looked through the glass, the sight caused him to forget his ministerial dignity. Jumping to his feet, the pastor shouted, “Look son, look!” Opening his eyes, the boy saw the little house on the hill completely covered with every white sheet, white blanket, white towel, white bedspread, white tablecloth, white napkin, and white handkerchief that his parents owned. Oh, how they loved him and wanted him to come home. The last thing the minister saw of the boy was the back of his legs running quickly up the hill, across the porch, through the white sheets, and into the waiting arms of his lonely parents.
Dear reader, Jesus loves you and wants you to come home, too. So repent of your sins, and trust Him as your Savior. If you do, He will place upon you His own spotless “robe of righteousness” (see Isaiah 61:10), His “white garments” (see Revelation 3:18) of full forgiveness, no matter how wicked your past. He promises He will (see 1 John 1:9). You can trust Him for this.
The earlier song quoted that says, “I was looking for love in all the wrong places,” then adds, “You came a-knocking at my heart’s door. You’re everything I’ve been looking for.” These words can truly apply only to Jesus Christ, your Savior.
He is God’s gift of love to you.
Through the gift of His righteousness—which alone can cover your sins of breaking the Ten Commandments—you can have eternal life in God’s bright tomorrow, where only love rules (see Revelation 21:4-5).
The big question is: Will you repent, and accept that gift, or not?
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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