You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross. So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality.
—Colossians 2:13-17 (NLT)
Do you realize that because you have been made alive with Christ, your sinful nature has been cut away by the finished work of His grace? When you believed in Jesus as your Savior, you were forgiven for all of your sins. God canceled the debt of your sin because Jesus paid for it with His life. All your sins were nailed to the cross with Him.
Why do you live in fear that you will not be “good enough” to be loved by Jesus when He has already loved you with His life? The gift of His righteous life has made you His in every way! Jesus didn’t judge and condemn you when He chose to pay for your sin. He looked beyond your sinful state and saw your need and met it with His life. His grace cut your sin away. If He had come into the world to judge you, He would have never died to save you.
“If you are trying to make yourself right with God by keeping the law” Paul wrote, “you have been cut off from Christ. You have fallen away from God’s grace” (Galatians 5:4, NLT). Jesus never leaves you. You move away from Him when you don’t allow His grace to transform you. Paul doesn't say here that falling from God's grace is falling back into sin. He says that falling from God's grace is when you struggle to make yourself right by keeping rules. You can't change your heart by following rules. Only Jesus transforms you by the power of His grace.
Throughout Scripture, Jesus disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities with the simplicity of His Good News. We make His grace less when we make rules and regulations more important than the finished work of the Cross. When we make the law more valuable than His grace, the Holy Spirit still disarms the rules and regulations of authorities. Our traditions are only that—traditions that we perceive. The grace of Jesus opens the throne room of God to us. His presence is our place of safety—not a place of fear where we struggle for acceptance.
Don’t feel condemned if you believe you don’t keep all the “rules” perfectly. “The Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 4:17, NLT). The do’s and don’ts—the rules—are only a shadow of His reality. Jesus Himself is the reality. Jesus was the perfection that He alone could attain.
How do you experience a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit? By believing in the gift of His righteousness. By believing in the complete and finished work of the Cross. By believing He will never leave you or forsake you. By accepting, you are forever forgiven. By believing and being transformed in the spirit of your mind. Faith in Jesus and the gift of His righteousness is the answer.
“But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love” (Galatians 5:5-6).
There is no benefit in the do's and the don'ts. Your profit is in Jesus. You are alive in Christ! You are free to be loved beyond the mind's ability to grasp. Soak Him in. He is yours. There is no better gift this Christmas.
© 2019 Lynn Lacher