Tuesday, April 17, 2012

No more silly walks...

In 1970, during the heyday of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, the comedy troupe created this sketch called, “The Ministry of Silly Walks.” In it, John Cleese played a civil servant who worked for the British government’s Ministry of Silly Walks. His character’s job was to determine who should be given grants to develop silly walks and who should not.

The writers of the Bible used the word walk in an unusual way. Rather than using it to refer to the placing of one foot in front of the other and walking out the door, they used “walk” to signify the way a person lived, the way they acted, the path of life they chose.

The first time walk is used in this way is in the middle of the first genealogy recorded for us, the record of the Adam’s lineage up until Noah. Moses makes mention of Enoch, Adam’s great-great-great-great-great-grandson, in the fifth chapter of Genesis.

“When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” (Genesis 5:21-24)

I’m sure Enoch talked with God every time he was physically walking, but you can see, can’t you, that that’s not what the writer means by the word walk? He means Enoch was in a close relationship with God. He was living with and for God and his glory. He did what was right just as God commanded him to.

Because of his close walk with God, Enoch did not face death. The writer of Hebrews wrote this about Enoch.

“By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:5-6)

Understanding the word “walk” in the Bible’s writer’s way, I have to tell you that there is only one way to “walk” in life that isn't a silly walk.

On a recent Thursday afternoon, I went to the middle school track meet in Stafford to watch my daughter and her friends run and jump and thrown for several hours and then I headed back to Pratt.

When I got back to the parking lot at the school to await the arrival of the bus, I grabbed my Bible which I had with me and started reading the beginning of Romans. I read Paul’s words of greeting. I heard him say how thankful he was for the church in Rome, how he longed to visit them, how he wanted to impart some spiritual gift to them and have a harvest among them. Then I read these words: “I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome. I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” (Romans 1:14-17)

That’s as far as I got. I stopped dead in my tracks when I read those last words: “The righteous will live by faith.”

This truth hit me square between the eyes: The only way to live that is pleasing to God is by faith. By faith we put our trust in Jesus’ death in our place to satisfy God’s wrath toward our sin. By faith we receive Christ’s righteousness and are made fit for eternal life. By faith we live our lives for God’s glory, listening to him, doing what he says, walking in his ways.

The righteous will live by faith, trusting God for their salvation and for guidance each and every day, or they are not the righteous.

You cannot be made right with God apart from faith. It is not possible! That’s what we read in Hebrews, right? You read it. “Without faith it is impossible to please God!” (Hebrews 11:6)

So any attempt to honor God outside of walking with him in faith is, well, silly. You cannot earn your salvation by your good works. Put your trust in Jesus and what he’s done.
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