In my last post I raised the question of why a loving God would leave us in our sin. If you read it you know I gave a few reasons before concluding that “getting better” is about becoming more dependent on Jesus’ perfect life for me than me actually becoming more perfect and sin-free.
Continuing with that thought I want to first say: You cannot achieve the victorious life here on Earth so stop beating yourself up when you fail! In fact, stop making living victorious your mission!
Many Christians believe this is the goal because much of our teaching and preaching focuses on working harder and getting better. The action is placed on us and our eyes directed to self instead of beholding Him – the only One who was perfect for us!
Here is what I mean. We are told to be like Christ, to be holy as He was holy, to love like He loved, to bear much fruit and on and on. Yes, these are commands and what we are called to. But the point we need to see is how we can’t.
That is why we need a Savior! He was holy and pefect for me. He was always patient, always kind, always had self-control, love and joy. He was never anxious or consumed by fear. He who knew no sin was made sin for me because I will continue to struggle and fail to do what I am called to.
These truths about Christ is what must be proclaimed. We need to hear about His righteousness for us. Not more law adding to the burden and guilt heaped upon us.
Being captivated by who He is for us is what leads to deeper worship. And when our hearts are moved in praise we have a greater desire to obey Him out of love, not duty. Even so, it is His work in us. He changes hearts. So, we can’t take any credit for our self-control or successes in living the Christian life well.
When we don’t succeed and think we are backsliding, typically what happens is we think we must work harder in that area. But what does that even mean and how do we do that?
It’s not that we need to work harder, it’s we need turn our eyes once again to our Savior who accepts and loves us deeply even in our sin. In fact, seeing the depth of our sin magnifies how great His love is!
Does this mean we don’t try not to sin?
No, but when we do sin (which we all do) we don’t have to hide and cover it up. We can go boldly to His throne of grace and acknowledge again our need, knowing He does not reject us or demand we pay penance to measure up. Instead, He draws near!
If this is enough for Jesus, why is there no room for sin and struggle in the church?
It goes back again to the emphasize of what is taught – law or grace?
So by God’s grace may we see Him as the One who was Victorious for us. May we hear that truth consistently preached. And may we be a part of a body of believers where grace reigns and we are safe to be deeply loved broken sinners together.
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