“Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5)
One of the benefits of God’s grace is its ability, through the Cross, to deliver us from a law mentality. The law teaches us that “in order to “be” we must perform.” The law demands performance in order to measure up. The whole purpose of the law was to reveal our unrighteousness and our inability to perform enough good works to obtain any degree of righteousness, other than our own self-righteousness.
The whole religious system has always been based on a performance based mentality. The religious hierarchy, the ceremonial formality, and sometimes even the educational system feed the perpetuation of a system that teaches or implies that we must perform in order to measure up to some sort of religious standard. Religious rules are always about control and bondage.
This is not a new thing. Jesus encountered a religious system that fought his message of grace and it eventually put him to death. The disciples lost their lives preaching this same message of salvation by God’s grace.
Even though the religious system is still alive and thriving today, I am grateful for a few solid Bible preaching churches that exists to teach the message of God’s grace and Jesus’ provision for man’s salvation.
However, in spite of the good churches there are many believers who still live in bondage to the law. Even though they will quickly tell you they are saved by grace, they live as though they are still under the law. It’s the tendency of the flesh to mix law with grace. Ever since Cain’s attempt to appease God by his offering of vegetables from his garden, man has sought to add to what God has already provided through a blood sacrifice.
Paul gives a great example of this in Galatians 3. Some of the new believers were stumbling in their new found freedom by mixing law with grace. We read about some well-meaning men from Jerusalem who were attempting to persuade new believers that they must add Jewish ceremonial law to God’s grace. Paul says, “You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you…I want to find out from you, did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”(Galatians 3:1-3 NAS)
Paul wanted to make it clear that salvation and God’s righteousness came by faith and God’s grace. They were made righteous by God’s gift not by any amount of works or law keeping. In other words, man is saved and kept by God’s grace and goodness, apart from any effort of works or law keeping.
Why is this important to know? The Christian life is not about working for God to gain His favor. It’s not about performance, but it’s about living your life in complete dependence on Him. Your Christian life began by putting your faith and trust in God’s provision for your salvation, and it is to be lived by placing your faith and trust in God’s provision to lead you every step of the way and in every season of your life.
The life of faith is about surrendering every aspect of your life to his control. As we abandon every area of our life to Him, the Holy Spirit will lead us in how to give our money, and how He wants us to serve Him. This same grace will also lead you through every major decision and crisis.
If you are trying to measure up to a set of religious rules or standards for God’s acceptance, then remember, you don’t have to “do things for God” to get his acceptance. Because you are in Christ, you are already accepted.
Then fully surrender every aspect of your life to His control and then listen for the Holy Spirit’s voice to lead you. It’s not about performance, but it’s about trusting and resting in His grace. Then, “HE -WILL- DO- IT –ALL- FOR -YOU.”
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him…for in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.” (Colossians 2 NAS)