“In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” (Galatians 4:3–7 ESV)
It is an overwhelming thought that the Creator of all things now calls me a son. Emotions dwell up inside when we think on this. We did nothing to earn it, in fact we were objects of His wrath because of our sinful self-reliant hearts. But now, we are in His family. From enemies to family with an inheritance – let that sink in.
“Their weekly diet in the congregation was often a moral exhortation to be like Jesus, or Paul, or Daniel, or some other super saint in the Bible. They were constantly peppered with the question, “What are you doing for Jesus?” The preaching was not, as it should have been, a proclamation of God’s grace to them because of the finished and atoning death of Christ-God’s grace for them as Christians. That emphasis is desperately needed. But the only way we can recover this message is by ceasing to read the Scriptures as a recipe book for Christian living, and instead find within the Scriptures Christ who died for us and who is the answer to our unchristian living.”
–Dr. Rod Rosenbladt (here)
“Like Luther, sometimes we approach the need for personal change as if each step of obedience were one more stair to climb in the attempt to gain peace with God. We pursue holiness for grace, not from grace. But this reverses the order of the gospel. You will never get traction in your transformation until your feet are firmly planted in the freedom of God’s justifying grace in Christ. The purpose of this chapter is to unpack the doctrine of justification by faith and show how embracing the truth of justification counters a performance-based, legalistic approach to the pursuit of transformation.”
Exerted from Christ Formed in You: The Power of The Gospel for Personal Change by Brian Hedges (Kindle edition location 933)
“The ultimate purpose of God’s law is not to give us a staircase to climb to heaven. Scripture is clear that the law itself can never make us righteous or earn favor with God. The law, rather, exposes our sin and shows us our need for grace. Human beings seem hard-wired to trust in their own performance as the basis of their acceptance with God. We may do this by trying to keep the Ten Commandments or live by the Sermon on the Mount. But while it is true that God’s law reflects his divine character and sets the bar by which we are judged, Scripture teaches that it is impossible to achieve a right standing with God through obedience (Gal. 3:21). This simply isn’t the purpose of God’s law. The attempt to gain God’s acceptance through law-keeping or performance is legalism. But the law was given to show us that we cannot satisfy God by what we do. In effect, the law gives us something tangible to bang our stubborn heads against until we throw up our hands and say, “I can’t do this. I can’t satisfy God’s requirements of me. This is impossible! I need someone else to do it. I despair of my own strength. Help me.” The law, therefore, is like an X-Ray machine: useful for diagnosis, but not for cure; able to reveal a fracture, but not to reset a bone. The law shows us that we fall short, but cannot change our status in any way. It makes us conscious of sin, but has no power to rescue from sin’s curse and control. This is the significance of Paul’s statement in Romans 3:
‘We know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.’ —Romans 3:19–20
Exerted from Christ Formed in You: The Power of The Gospel for Personal Change by Brian Hedges (Kindle edition location 950-980)
It seems modern evangelicalism has come to a place of encouraging people to pursue life-change as a goal, and that closeness to Jesus would be the fruit.
What I’m learning is that the early church (many of whom actually knew Jesus) was called explicitly to pursue Jesus as the goal, and knowing that any fruit of obedience was from Him, through Him, and to Him.
“Come ye, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest”. I always considered that to be only an evangelistic statement. I think maybe Jesus meant it to be his daily banner over me. Daily rest in the unmerited grace of Jesus. How many people are experiencing that? It’s actually pretty counter-cultural these days.
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12–13 ESV)
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31 ESV)
We’re all addicted to earning it. Most think they’ve earned it on the front end with their “choice of faith”. And since that is the case, they have to continue to try and keep it with with their moral deeds.
Beholding is becoming: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” 1 Corinthians 3:18
via Letter to an Incomplete, Insecure Teenager – Desiring God.