Prayer is supposed to be our lifeline as believers, but as we all know, what we expect to happen when we pray will not always line up with reality. The Bible says God hears our prayers when we are righteous by faith in Christ Jesus. The Bible says the prayers of a righteous man avail much, and as long as we pray in Jesus’s name, He will give us what we ask of Him. Even so, we all know this is not always the case. Sometimes our prayers seem to be ignored, we dont always get what we ask for in Jesus’s name, and we seem unable to pray powerful prayers.
The Bible says in 1.Peter 3, God hears the prayers of the righteous, but He ignores the prayers of the wicked. We usually interpret this to mean, God hears the prayers of those who are righteous by faith in Christ Jesus, and He ignores the prayers of those who dont believe in Jesus.
To understand what Peter is saying here, we have to understand what it means to be righteous.
1.John 3:7 says we are righteous by what we do, not by passive faith in Christ Jesus. What does the Bible says we need to do to become righteous? 1.John 2 and John 14 say we become righteous when we obey the law of Moses. According to the Bible, we are righteous by faith when we show the world Jesus is our Lord by doing what He told us to do, which is to obey the law of Moses.
1.Peter 3 says God hears the prayers of the righteous, but He ignores the prayers of the wicked. So what 1.Peter 3 is saying is this, God hears the prayers of those who obey the law of Moses, but He rejects the prayers of those who reject the law of Moses.
If you want your prayers heard, the Bible says you have to obey the law of Moses.
Where does the cross fit into this?
If the Bible says we become righteous when we obey the law of Moses, then it follows we can repent from lawlessness to law to achieve righteousness. Do we then need the cross at all to reconcile to God?
The short answer is yes; we need the cross because even though we become righteous by law, the law is our enemy without the cross. But without the law, the cross can not save us.
Jesus says, in John 14, keeping the law of Moses is our way of showing love for Jesus and His Father. When we love someone, we are faithful to them, so when we keep the law of Moses, we show faithfulness and love for God. If we disobey the law of Moses, it is the same as being unfaithful to God, telling Him we dont love Him anymore. To understand how this connects to the law of Moses and the cross, we first have to understand what the law says about adultery and unfaithfulness.
If a spouse is unfaithful in the marriage and has sex with another man or woman, the law of Moses says the spouse and her lover have to die. So the law of Moses says there is a death penalty for adultery and sexual unfaithfulness in the marriage.
Suppose the spouse has not been sexually unfaithful, but only emotionally unfaithful. In that case, the law of Moses says she does not have to die, but they cant remain married to each other. Her first husband is not allowed to remarry another woman; he has to stay single. He can never remarry his first wife, even if he wants to.
So if a spouse has sex outside of marriage, she and her lover have to die. If a spouse has been emotionally unfaithful but never had sex outside of marriage, the law says her husband has to divorce her and never remarry her.
When you were born, the Bible says you were born perfect, able to choose not to sin. You were born sinless into this world, but you were born with the ability to decide between right and wrong. You chose off your own free will to do what you knew was wrong at one point in your life. When that happened, you decided to be unfaithful to God.
When you were unfaithful to God, He had to obey by His own law and divorce you. From that moment on, His own law says it would be an abomination for Him to remarry you. And because you had been unfaithful, God’s law says you have to die.
Now you might be wondering, why do I have to die because of my sins when the law of Moses says the death penalty only applies to an unfaithful spouse having been sexually unfaithful? I have never had sex with another god, so why then the death penalty?
In Matthew 5:28, Jesus says if you who are married consider the idea of being sexually unfaithful, you will be judged as if you have had sex outside of marriage. According to Jesus, if you consider the idea, but you never go through with it, God will judge you as if you have had sex outside of marriage. So the first time you broke the law of Moses, God not only saw it as emotional unfaithfulness, but He also saw it and judged it as if you had been sexually unfaithful.
Why would God see my sin as being sexually unfaithful to Him? Am I supposed to have sex with God?
No, of course not, you are a human being, and you are not supposed to have sex with God. But what happens when two persons of the opposite sex become sexually intimate? The Bible says in Genesis and the Gospels, they become one flesh. So this is not about having sex; this is about who you are one with. So when a spouse is sexually unfaithful to her husband, she becomes one flesh with her lover. When a spouse considers the idea of being sexually unfaithful, but she never goes through with it, God sees it as if she has become one flesh with her lover in her mind. When you sinned against God, your decision to break the law of Moses led to you becoming one flesh with a demon. Because your sins have made you one flesh with a demon, God judges it as if you have been sexually unfaithful to Him and sentenced you to death.
So what do we know so far?
- Nobody forced us to break the law of Moses. We decided to sin, and we made that decision of our own free will.
- When we sinned, we became guilty of adultery and unfaithfulness to God.
- God has to obey His own law, so He divorced Himself from us and sentenced us to death.
- His own law says we become righteous when we obey the law. But because His own law also says we cant repent and come back to Him, we are in big trouble because of our unfaithfulness and adultery.
- Because of the promise given to Abraham, Yehovah (God has a name, and it is Yehovah) took it upon Himself to be born into this world as 100% human and 100% God.
- Yehovah, as Yeshua spent three years teaching us how to properly obey the law of Moses so we would know how to be righteous.
- When Yehovah, as Yeshua, died on the cross as a human, He took our adultery upon Himself. He volunteered to be punished as an adulterer, even though He had never been unfaithful to God. If you believe He died as a human being instead of you, the demands of the law will be met, and you will never have to suffer the consequences of your adultery.
- When Yehovah, as Yeshua, died on the cross as God, Romans 7 says we were no longer guilty of adultery. If you believe He died as God, you will no longer be guilty of adultery.
- If we are no longer guilty of adultery, we are free to remarry. Who should we remarry? The Bible says we are to remarry the same spouse who died for us, Yehovah. How do we remarry Yehovah? By believing Yehovah was raised as Yeshua from the dead.
- If we believe all of the above, we will, as a consequence, decide not to commit adultery again. If we decide not to commit adultery again, we will, of course, decide from now on to obey the law of Moses.
Then and only then will prayer become what it is supposed to be, and then we will see our prayers answered and heard.
This is why we need the cross because even though we become righteous by law, the law is our enemy without the cross. But without the law, the cross can not save us. If you accept the cross, but you reject the law, you are continuing living in adultery. If you accept the law, but you reject the cross, the law makes it impossible for you to be saved. If you want to be reconciled to God, forgiven for your adultery, you have to repent. Repentance means to admit it and quit it. Admit you have committed adultery against Yehovah, quit it by repenting back to the law of Moses, be reconciled by faith in the cross. Then you will be righteous; then your prayers will be heard and answered.