There is an activity that teachers use in school to teach students how to sequence events in stories and expand on the existing material. One student starts with one sentence or event and whispers it into the ear of another and that student will add on something and whisper that to another and so on. And at the end, the story that emerges from the last student is often very far from the original.

In the same way, material passed down through oral tradition suffers the same fate. Things get added, things get taken away, and things get misinterpreted and misrepresented. But my friend, Jesus wants you to know that there is only one version of His love, His grace, His mercy, His protection, His providence and His redeeming work; His.

Firstly, there has only ever been one way to get right with God.

“Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”
And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” Genesis 15:5-6

Right from the first book, our Father has already taught us how to get right with Him. In this account of Abraham, our Father promised him descendants as numerous as the stars, and this when Abraham was advanced in age. Regardless of how improbable and impossible it was for it to happen in the natural, Abraham believed Him and it was counted to Him as righteousness. We are not even talking about unlocking the promise yet, this is just about getting right with God. All we are to do is to believe in Him.

Then later when Jesus was here, there were certain men who, like you, wanted to know how to get right with God and this was what they said,

“Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” John 6:28-29

Yes my friend, Jesus wants nothing else, our Father wants nothing else but for us to believe in Him whom our Father sent, believe in Jesus. For Jesus says,

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” John 5:24

And later, the apostle Paul also says,

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Actually, the full explanation is rather meatier than that.

“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:21-26

Firstly, our Father never wanted, never needed man to make himself right before Him. That is why, from the very beginning, all we needed to do, as with Abraham, was believe in Him. But during the time of Moses, Israel wanted to earn their justification and said,

“Then all the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” Exodus 19:8

“All the people spoke at the same time and said, “We will obey everything the Lord says.” Exodus 19:8[GW]

So God instituted the Law of Moses, the Ten Commandments, to firstly, let us do what we said we wanted to do; but more importantly, to show us that we could not do it and so bring us to dependence on Him once again.

It is very much like a child who cannot climb up his feeding chair without help, but still wants to try anyway. When his parents try and lift him up, he cries and struggles. So his parents let him try, whilst all the time holding onto the chair so it would not topple over, but letting him struggle so that eventually, the child will realize that he cannot and ask to be carried up. Our Father is not cruel for doing that any more than another parent who has done that before is cruel. Despite us asking to earn our justification on our own, He still keeps watch over us, and catches us before we fall. But because we want it, He will let us try. So what more if we decide to rely solely on Him? How much more will our Father not carry us up the minute we ask for it?

That is why there is another form of justification, the one that comes by faith in Jesus. In that, whoever believes that Jesus suffered, bled and died for their sins, comes under the covering of His protection, just like Israel did when the Spirit of the Lord passed over Egypt, just before they left, and killed all the first-born of the land, except for those who resided in the houses with the blood-marked door posts. We, who believe, come under that same protection and are made right before God by Jesus’ blood. It is as if our Father is telling us to stop struggling, and let Him carry us up and put us in the feeding chair. And my friend, Paul tells us, that if we believe in that, we are “justified freely”. No cost to us, no demands made of us, no payment from us, because Jesus paid for it all.

So you see beloved, old testament, new testament, straight from Jesus Himself, there is only one way to get right with our Father. Believe in our Father, believe in Jesus.

And once we are right with our Father, there is also one version of His love, His provision and His protection; unconditional and uncompromising.

“And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God:
Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.
Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds; the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.
Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.
The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways.
Then all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you.
And the Lord will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you.
The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand.
You shall lend to many nations and not borrow.
And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them.” Deuteronomy 28:1-13

What a comprehensive list. And because our Father has already mentioned this before, subsequent mentions get shorter and more succinct. Jesus said,

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:31-33

“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14

And later the apostle Paul says,

“He who did not spare His own son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him, also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32

Beloved, by believing Him, we are obeying Him. By obeying Him, we are unlocking all those blessings for us. So once we believe Him, we unlock for us righteousness with our Father, and blessings for us. And it has been this way from the beginning.

There is a poster on a pub wall which says,

“He who drinks, gets drunk.
He who gets drunk, goes to sleep.
He who sleeps, does not sin.
He who does not sin, goes to heaven.
So let us all drink and go to heaven.”

Might I propose a rewrite.

“He who believes, is right with God.
He who is right with God, unlocks the treasures of heaven.
So let us believe and unlock the treasures of heaven.”

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