Psalm 119 is clear. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word” (verse 9). That’s the way to do it! By remembering to read Scripture and apply it to our everyday lives, we can defend against the evil one and avoid sin. That’s all there is to it.
The other day, someone asked me how I feel I’m doing with following the commandments. My response was just as clear as Psalm 119. I laughed. “That’s a good one,” I said. “Of course I’m not good at following the commandments!” I may joke about it, but it’s a serious problem, and one we can’t avoid. No matter how hard we try to keep our way pure, no matter how well we’ve memorized the Bible and how often we think about what Scripture says, we will never be able to avoid sin. On our own, we’re hopeless. We fail. We fail often.
That’s why the news that Jesus is our high priest is so amazing. Hebrews 5:1 describes the job of a high priest. “Every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.” Jesus, as the ultimate high priest, offered the sacrifice to end all sacrifices. He offered himself, and it was enough. Through his sacrifice, we are saved.
It’s always tempting to look at ourselves and our actions and think, “I’m just not doing enough.” But that’s not the framework that Jesus has given us. If we look through the frame of Jesus, we see that Jesus did enough, and nothing we do could change that. He gave us everything we need without any merit on our part. When we’re feeling low, we can look to Jesus, “who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).