“But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
I did not plan to say anything more on the subject of being “perfect” as Christians. However, the subject has been troubling me ever since my last post.
This is the whole premise of freedom in Christ: bondage to sin. This is the whole story of freedom from slavery in the Old Testament.
We are made in the image of God and we will never be walking in the freedom that Christ died for us to have as long as we live to our flesh. A true understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is our only salvation.
Thankfully, I stumbled upon this amazing excerpt from Matt Chandler’s book, The Explicit Gospel. Any emphasis to the text has been purely mine:
The gospel is all about God. What He has done. What He is doing. What He is going to do.
The marker of those who understand the gospel of Jesus Christ is that, when they stumble and fall, when they screw up, they run to God and not from him, because they clearly understand that their acceptance before God is not predicated upon their behavior but on the righteous life of Jesus Christ and his sacrificial death.
But the story doesn’t end there.
Grace-driven effort wants to get to the bottom of behavior, not just manage behavior. If you're simply managing behavior but not removing the roots of that behavior, then the weeds simply sprout up in another place.
What ends up happening to so many of us is that we spend so much time trying to put sin to death that we don't spend enough time striving to know God deeply, trying to gaze upon the wonder of Jesus Christ and have that transform our affections to the point where our love and hope are steadfastly on Christ. The goal is this: that Christ would become more beautiful and desirable than the allure of sin."
Grace-driven effort is violent. It is aggressive. The person who understands the gospel understands that, as a new creation, his spiritual nature is in opposition to sin now, and he seeks not just to weaken sin in his life but to outright destroy it.
Out of love for Jesus, he wants sin starved to death, and he will hunt and pursue the death of every sin in his heart until he has achieved success. This is a very different pursuit than simply wanting to be good.
It is the result of having transferred one's affections to Jesus. When God's love takes hold of us, it powerfully pushes out our own love for other gods and frees our love to flow back to him in true worship.
And when we love God, we obey him.