A Stranger In Need Meets A Neighbor In Deed

There is none righteous, not even one.
–Romans 3:10

In his book “The Jesus Style,” Gayle Erwin told a story about a conversation he had with two couples–one was a Christian couple, the other a Buddhist couple. During the conversation, the Christian man lit a cigarette. Then he apologized, saying that he was trying to kick the habit so as not to inhibit his witness for Christ. The Buddhist woman replied, “We non-Christians, when one of our rank becomes a Christian, do not watch them to see how well they live up to some self-imposed standard of piety. We watch them to see how they start treating people.”

The greatest evidence of your relationship to Jesus Christ is how you treat other people, especially those people who are in need. That is the theme of one of Jesus’s best-known parables: the parable of the good Samaritan.

We see in Luke 10:25 the occasion that caused Jesus to tell this story: “A lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’” In Jesus’s day, lawyers were experts in the Old Testament law. And this lawyer knew Jesus was teaching that salvation was not by keeping the law. Instead, He said, the law was given to show how sinful we are and how in need of a Savior we are. This lawyer was hoping to trap Jesus into publicly setting aside the Old Testament law and therefore making Himself guilty of blasphemy. So he asked Jesus, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

We need to give the lawyer just a little bit of credit here for asking, “What must I do to have eternal life? What must I do to be saved?” How many people have ever come up to you and said, “Tell me, what do I need to do to be saved?” Most people do not ask that question because most people do not understand that they need to be saved. Most people are not pursuing salvation because they have no understanding that they are lost.

In January 1979, Archbishop Fulton Sheen was addressing the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, a group that included President Jimmy Carter and his wife. The archbishop began his message by saying, “Mr. President, Mrs. Carter, my fellow sinners.” Every one of us, from the president to the prostitute, is guilty before God. Romans 3:10 says, “There is none righteous, not even one.” We all need to be saved.

***

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “A Stranger In Need Meets A Neighbor In Deed” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

Gayle D. Erwin, “The Jesus Style” (Waco, TX: Word, 1983), 131; “Abp. Sheen Opens Prayer Breakfast,” The Catholic Advance, January 25, 1979.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org

 

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