One of the biggest problems I had with Bible study is with the commands of the Bible. No one can live up to them. How can anyone obey them?
Here are some specific, cut-and-dry commands that always disturbed me when I read them in the past.
Matthew 5:48 “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
1 Peter 1:15 “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;”
Be joyful always.
1 Thessalonians 5:16 “Be joyful always;”
Revelation 2:10 “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
The commands above are as absolute as the Vodka by the same name. And they come from the highest authority. I used to think like this: Well these commands are too difficult, but I’m going to try anyway! I’ll show everyone. I am strong enough to obey. All those other Christians are just weak failures. I am stronger and smarter. I defined righteousness as “Obey 100%, but if you fail God’s grace will make up the difference.” I began to articulate the gospel as this: “Obey and be blessed by God; disobey and be cursed by God, but not for eternity as long as you believe in Jesus.”
What I didn’t realize then is that I did not know the absoluteness of these two statements: “All who rely on observing the law are under a curse.” and “No one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law.”