So I find this law at work: When I want to do
good, evil is right there with me.
Romans 7:21 (NIV)
Before I knew
Christ, I used to be a "live and let live" person. I had a few
scruples and lines I was personally unwilling to cross, but mostly I thought
that a person had the right to do what they wanted to do as long as no one was
When I became a Christian, I swung hard to the
right and became very black and white. It was either completely right or
completely wrong. In so doing, I became quite legalistic. I lived that way for
a number of years, and became judgmental and prideful in my heart. I
thought I was quite holy because I didn’t watch television, listen to popular
music or read anything but the Bible. Each night as I went to bed, I recounted
the righteousness of the day.
I believed that God would be displeased with me if I did
any of the things my pre-Christ life contained. It look many years before I
realized I was trying to maintain by my works what I gained by grace.
When I first began to gain glimpses of what freedom in
Christ meant I accepted that I had become a performance oriented Christian. I
was basing my approval and blessing from God on what I did instead of who I am
Many of the women I counsel are stuck in that same place,
thinking that unless they perform right God won't bless them or that they will
be out of favor with God. They believe He
won't bring good things into their lives and the “bad” things that happen are
because they did or didn't do something. They admit this is horrible bondage.
It was through excellent teaching from the Bible that I
found freedom. The Scriptures give enormous scope and magnitude to the grace of
The truth that I want to share with you is this: God is
only pleased with us because we are in Christ. It is not because we "do well"
or "are good." Apart from Christ,
neither is possible for us! The good that we do should not be to attempt to gain
God's favor, but a response to all that we now understand that God has done for
Grace is not cheap and our freedom in Christ was not easily
attained, we must be wise in how we use our incredible liberty in Christ. Be
aware of acting on the desire to let sin slide and to be less conscientious
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But
do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another
in love. Galatians 5:13
Read and meditate on Romans 6 for help and direction about
how we are to conduct ourselves in the midst of this wonderful grace. Performance
oriented living is not good and abusing grace is not good either. Too much of
either lands us in a ditch of legalism or self-indulgence. Twice in 1 Corinthians Paul says, everything is
permissible—but not everything is beneficial (1 Cor. 6:12; 10:23).
response to the abundant grace in which we live is not to be one of
licentiousness, sexual immorality, lying or swearing. We cannot live however we want because we think it doesn't hurt anyone. A desire to honor
and glorify God by our thoughts, conduct and words has to take precedence over
what we sometimes want. Our response to grace must be tempered by the stark reality
that grace and our freedom from bondage to the Law and to sin was not free. It
came at an incredibly high price, the life of one innocent Man.