1. Jesus hates sin
2. God is Holy
(Wow, it seemed so much more profound when I was writing about it:)
Because of these 2 facts, Christians often manage to override grace and come up with their own solution to living with these truths about God. The solution: RIGHTEOUSNESS. It goes something like this:
We know we are forgiven. We know we serve a holy God. We know that we still sin. We feel like Jesus paid such a big price that now He is now tapping His toes in heaven because He is waiting for us to pay Him back. That something we owe Him is a holy life. We can do that no problem! So we jump head first into "being good Christians" by our own merit.
The apostle Paul describes this type of living in Romans 7:15-24:
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.
As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.
I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.
For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.
Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.
For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Can you relate to Paul's description? When you live according to your righteousness you will find that there is a great war within you, one that you always lose. Paul sums it up, "What a wretched man I am!" How often do we walk away from situations in our lives feeling exactly like this? But Paul ends this frustrating passage of Scripture with a question, "who will rescue me from this body of death?"
The answer, Romans 7:25 Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Do you know what follows Romans 7:25? Romans 8:1!! And do you realize what popular verse opens Romans 8?
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
Here's the real shocker: we don't have to live in the description Paul described in Romans 7. We end up in that predicament when we try to live out our Christianity according to our own righteousness. Do you know what the Bible describes our righteousness as?
all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.
I don't think many of us would walk around handing out filthy rags as something valuable. However, we still think that now attaining righteousness by our own merit will get us somewhere. It does; that somewhere is the land of confusion, frustration and condemnation.
But God has a better way for us to live and it is to live according to His grace!!!! However, you'll have to wait for the next post to read about it!