A Heart of Righteousness
Devotions with Pastor Jason Lim
"For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7
In the story of the tortoise and the hare, the hare has every advantage. It has stronger legs and the ability to run faster. It absolutely believes it will win the race and so, out of complacency, it fell asleep and eventually lost the race. This story parallels the history of Israel. Although they were advantaged in many ways - they had the law, the covenant, the prophets, and the holy scripture - yet the shocking reality was that the Jews were complacent and, by and large, rejected Christ as a nation. "Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved…" (Romans 9:27)
On the other hand, the Gentiles (non-Jews) were chosen and included in God's plan of salvation. This was shocking to the Jews as the Gentiles had always been viewed as unclean. But Paul declared that the vessels of mercy that God chose were not only amongst the Jews but also amongst the Gentiles. God called a people who were not His people, to be His children.
So why did Israel, with all her advantages, not get saved in greater numbers? Paul said it was because they sought salvation not by faith, but by the works of the law. The problem was their sinful hearts were consumed with the idol of self-righteousness. They worshipped religious and outward forms of righteousness and neglected the true worship of the Lord. The depravity of our sin goes to the depths of our hearts, don't underestimate the costly price needed to pay for your salvation. Don't reject the heart transplant God has freely given, by offering us the righteousness of Jesus through the cross. We can never earn righteousness by the works of the law. We must be saved through believing in Christ alone.