The Life of Faith
As much as we want freedom from confining rules, from condemnation and shame, I think it can make us uncomfortable. Our bent is toward trying to govern ourselves and each other, and the Gospel, the way of Jesus — it was all upside down. It still can seem upside down.
The worst sinner and the best performer are both on level ground at the foot of the cross. Nothing is hidden from Him, and nothing can’t be redeemed by Him.
But we want to earn it sometimes — the system of checks and balances makes us feel more secure that if we can at least do our best, maybe we’ll be worthy.
But Jesus (and Paul and Peter and all the other apostles) remind us again and again that there is no earning involved in salvation. There is only accepting. There is only walking in it, day in and day out, receiving it but never deserving it. To the one who needs to know that nothing you have ever done can separate you from the love of Christ, that you are never too far for Him to reach you, that you are never too dirty for Him to cleanse you — this is the best news. That whisper that says you’re just not good enough — it’s a lie. It’s not what the Creator says about you.
And to the one who has tried for a very long time to get it all right, to the one who has made pains to obey and live “right” — this is still the best news. Because you will never, not in all your striving, do it all perfectly. Jesus knew that, and if you don’t know it now, you will at some point fail or fall or feel condemned. Just as the Gospel silences the voice of condemnation, it also silences the voice of striving. Jesus calls you to rest in this upside-down (or right-side-up, rather) Kingdom of His.
Paul said, when talking about all of this in Galatians 2:20, “I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Paul knew what we need to pay attention to. The life of faith, of accepting Jesus, is a constant decision to trust, and often it’s even a struggle because we so want to earn. But we choose to trust that what He did is always enough so that even when our brains and hearts want to figure things out on our own terms, we tell ourselves these truths. Because even though we, like Paul and the early church, constantly wrestle with it all, it really is the very best news.
Think it over:
Where do you fall today — are you feeling more condemnation or more striving? And how can you choose to trust the way of Jesus instead?