What’s the greatest problem in the world?
Covid-19? Racism? Riots? Recession?
These are all great problems but none of them are the greatest problem.
The greatest problem is self-salvation. Other names for this are rule-redemption, law-liberation. The core idea is that we can be saved by our works, our obedience, our commandment-keeping. I can offer God enough obedience to persuade him to save me.
Why is that the greatest problem?
Because no matter how hard we try, we cannot save ourselves and we cannot please God. In fact, the very fact that we are trying to actually displeases him. And we kind of know that in our consciences don’t we. We’re not happy and God’s not happy.
But there is a better way and a happier way.
Let's see how God sets this up when he first called Israel a people in Exodus 19:1-6.
GOD REDEEMS US
We sell ourselves to sin for nothing, but God buys us back from sin with everything.
What does he redeem us to?
GOD RELATES TO US
We run from God, but God runs to us.
How does he keep the relationship healthy and happy?
GOD REGULATES US
We obey to worship our Savior, not to work salvation.
How does God encourage us to obey?
GOD REWARDS US
Reward is not the basis of salvation, it is our bonus in salvation.
LIVING THE BIBLE
Our greatest problem is self-salvation or rule-redemption.
God’s solution is redemption > relationship > rules > reward (see also John 14:15-21) - IN THAT ORDER!
God redeems us for relationship, provides rules to keep that relationship happy and healthy, and rewards covenantal obedience as a bonus.
Whether or not you ever learn the three R’s, make sure you learn the four R’s.
If you solve that problem, you’ve solved your greatest problem.
This episode of Living the Bible lines up with Expedition 7: Day 1 in Exploring the Bible Together: A 52-Week Family Worship Plan and Exploring the Bible: A Bible Reading Plan for Kids. You can catch up with previous episodes of the Living the Bible podcast here or subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcast.