In Chapter 2 verse 15 of Galatians Paul states:
“We ourselves are Jews by birth and not gentile sinners, yet we
know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through
faith in Jesus Christ, so, we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in
order to be justified by faith in Christ AND NOT BY WORKS OF THE
LAW, because by works of the law is no man justified.”
The Galatians began with grace alone and then were seduced into
believing that they also had to obey the 633 laws which not one Jew
had ever been able to keep.
When I attempt to measure up to the standards of a particular church
or group to which I belong in order to feel good about myself, am I
not attempting to be righteous by living up to a standard? “Do this, don’t do
that, witness everyday, whatever.” Do I try to get life by what I do to please
God and other Christians? Do I try to get points by doing A so that God will
give me B?
Oh, dear reader, the oughts are so subtle. I can remember a time when the
word “ought” defined my whole Christian experience. When I was praying I
suddenly felt that I “ought” to be reading the Bible, or I really should go over
to that neighbor and witness, or maybe I had not prayed enough. When I
discovered that the Christian life is lived by faith, that I live and love out of the
overflow of His Life in me, it stopped being about ME and started to be
about HIM. I have a choice everyday. Am I going to try to gain His approval
through my behavior, or am I going to trust that He is crazy in love with
me, and nothing I do will ever change that? Even if I go take a nap....