Have you tried to please God and failed miserably? Join the club. We can’t please God by self-improvement and we can’t be good on our own. Blessedly, that is not the end. We are not saved by works but by God’s grace. God’s plan to redeem, restore, and refine us is rock-solid.
We know very well that we are not set right with God by rule-keeping but only through personal faith in Jesus Christ. How do we know? We tried it—and we had the best system of rules the world has ever seen! Convinced that no human being can please God by self-improvement, we believed in Jesus as the Messiah so that we might be set right before God by trusting in the Messiah, not by trying to be good. (Gal. 2: 15-16, MSG,*)
God has planned an amazing way back to him: Jesus. We can only be set right with God through personal faith in Jesus Christ. But what a glorious gift that is! But even that is not the end! God doesn’t only want to redeem us but restore and refine us as well. That is a beginning of a new way of life in Jesus!
What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. (Gal. 2:17-18, MSG,*)
We can’t be good on our own. When we are forced to do good things by moral rules we fail sooner or later. But the Holy Spirit enables us to live the Jesus way. It’s not us but God in us who empowers us to live the way God wants us to.
It’s freedom in Christ that makes all the difference. When we are first accepted and freed by Jesus, the spiritual life and good deeds develop as a loving response to God’s grace.
We are not called to put on spiritual shows but let the Holy Spirit work in us. Also, we are not called to impress God or church but let Christ live in us. When we let Christ into our hearts our lives are not ours anymore. Our lives are not driven by our selfish ambitions but by faith in Jesus Christ.
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. (Gal.2: 19-21, MSG, emphasis added)
Di you know that if we could please God by being good and doing good, then Jesus died unnecessarily. If a loving relationship with our Father could come by human effort, then Christ died unnecessarily. Repudiating God’s grace is such a scary thought, isn’t it? God, have mercy! That’s why all the talk about how Jesus is not necessary for salvation is just beyond me.
I know it is truly humbling to have God Almighty to send his only son to die for us. But when we humble ourselves to receive all that love and grace, when we let Christ redeem ourselves, there is no end to our joy. There is no way we would trade back our freedom! God’s plan to redeem, restore, and refine us is the best.
I choose Jesus. Today, tomorrow and forever. Why don’t you join me?
Thank you for sending your son to die for us.
Thank you for loving us so much!
Enable us to live in freedom.
Enable us always to value your grace!
Come and make our hearts burn for you!
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: What do you think about God’s plan to redeem, restore, and refine us?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you celebrate God’s grace in your life!
* [As you might have noticed, I enjoy reading the Bible in different translations and love comparing them. I have started linking the Bible verses toBiblegateway.com so you can easily read (and compare) them in the different versions I’ve used while preparing each post.].