“Let me ask you this one question,” Paul asked the Galatians. “Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort” (Galatians 3:2-3, NLT)?
Sometimes we, too, are foolish. Did we receive the spirit of Jesus Christ by just keeping rules? Of course not! We received the Spirit when we believed by faith. Striving to keep rules perfectly can never save us from our unrighteousness! However, unknowingly, some of us still strive to earn the gift of His love. Some believe they are not acceptable to God unless they keep working to be perfect. They know in their hearts that they could never earn the gift of His love, but they live differently. They are on a treadmill—never understanding what they received when they asked Jesus into their hearts.
Why do we keep trying to be perfect by our own efforts? Instead of seeking to know who we are in Christ—how the gift of His life changes us—we live as if we haven’t experienced His grace at all. Grace sets us free to live the righteousness that He has unselfishly won for us. That grace wasn't free. It cost Him everything. When we don't live the freedom He earned on Calvary from the rigor-based performance trap of not being good enough, we make His grace cheap. We say that it wasn't enough. We strive to meet the requirements of the law He fulfilled on Calvary and then feel condemned when we aren’t good enough.
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus,” Paul wrote, “and because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit” (Romans 8:1-4, NLT).
When will we get this? When will we understand that the Holy Spirit doesn’t bury us with condemnation? Knowing who Jesus says we are is critical. HE FORGIVES US! WE HAVE RECEIVED HIS BLAMELESS LIFE FOR OURS! He paid for our sin and set us free. When we understand this truth, we shall live in the freedom that Jesus won for us on the Cross. His unconditional love will change our attitudes, our hearts, and our minds. We will see through the eyes of grace instead of judgment. We will know that Jesus has given us new life! We shall love because He first loved us! We will give because He gave to us! We will be free to serve Him without hesitation—not out of any requirement, but because He loves us so much!
© 2019 Lynn Lacher