“Surely, He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, everyone, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Is. 53:4, 6
If you have come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, you are called to live a life worthy of the gospel. We have all gone astray and wandered away from the good shepherd like sheep. God would rather have a broken heart over your sin than a good record with no heart towards Him.
Jesus points out to us that the Pharisees were very moral and law-abiding. Yet, Jesus said to them that the tax collectors and the prostitutes would receive the kingdom of heaven before them. Their actions and outward appearances were commendable, but their hearts were far from the Lord. Jesus said they were like whitewashed tombs Matthew 22:27-28. Everything that people could see was upright, but evil was hidden in their hearts. What have you been told about religion? Perhaps you have been told it is about changing bad behavior, but it really is about a change of heart.
As a Believer, your faith will show in your actions and choices. But don’t get confused. Moral actions do not create a faithful person. Moral, godly decisions come from a changed heart. Morality always accompanies authentic faith, but you can have a lot of moral character without genuine faith.
Moral behavior can be limited to outward actions but faith has to do with an honest heart change. God would rather you have a broken heart rather than be focused on the appearance of good behavior.
No one is without sin. The Pharisees thought they had a perfect record because they were good at keeping in the law. No one is without sin. Anyone who thinks they are is so full of pride that they ruin their own record.
True religion and faith in Jesus are about unconditional love, grace, forgiveness, and behavior. The essence of true faith is that we deserve death, but Jesus took our place. We deserved to be excluded from God kingdom and family. Yet, God unconditionally loves us so much that Jesus took the punishment for us.
Consider how your past thoughts on religion have affected your relationship with God and others. Your good shepherd found you. You are no longer a lost sheep.