The longer I live, the more I realize that I haven’t been living in a true understanding of God’s grace. I grew up in a religion that emphasized works. We all tried very, very hard to please God. And yet, I missed it. In my heart, the thing I wanted to do most was to please God. But, the problem was, I could never be good enough…in my eyes or the eyes of people around me. Even if you’ve never been in a religion that is legalistic in that way, I think we all fall back into the trap of trying to be “good enough” so God will love us, accept us and ultimately save us. Here are some things that I keep pouring over my spirit day by day. I hope they help you, too.
1. We are accepted by God when we embrace what God does for us.
Romans 4:6-9, “We all agree, don’t we, that it was by embracing what God did for him that Abraham was declared fit before God?”
2. When we try so hard, we are eliminating trust from our relationship.
Romans 4:12-15, “…If those who get what God gives them only get it by doing everything they are told to do and filling out all the right forms properly signed, that eliminates personal trust completely and turns the promise into an ironclad contract!…”
3. Moral performance doesn’t equal salvation.
Luke 18:9-12, “He (Jesus) told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people…”
4. We don’t bring anything to God.
Psalm 40:6-8, “Doing something for you, bringing something to you – that’s not what you’re after. Being religious, acting pious – that’s not what you’re asking for. You’ve opened my ears so I can listen. So I answered, “I’m coming…That’s when God’s Word entered my life, became part of my very being.”
Romans 12:3, “Living then…in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.”
5. Rule-keeping kills a living relationship.
Galatians 2:19-21, “…Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.”
Or, just read (and re-read!) the entire book of Galatians until you get it into your spirit. The Apostle Paul is dealing with people who are trying hard to earn God’s favor and trying to follow all the “rules”. Paul says the Jews had the best set of rules in the world and it still didn’t make them righteous! So, he gave up being a “law man” to be Christ’s man. I love that! The only thing that will make us truly righteous is by embracing Christ’s sacrifice.
(Btw, all these scriptures are taken from The Message Bible by Eugene Peterson. I love it!)
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