I have done nothing to earn my salvation. There is nothing I could have done to earn it. I am not worthy of what Christ Jesus my Lord has done for me. And the truth is I will never be able to repay that debt. I think the church as a whole can loose site of this.
I remember when I was a teen around 14, I had always had long hair and that gave the perception of being rebellious to my very conservative church. One week I went to get a trim and the stylist chopped it all short. I remember being in shock as she said “So what made you get your hair cut short?” Now I was always treated very gruff by the people in my church. Always heavy handed short comments, adults didn’t want to talk with me. The Sunday after the hairpoclypse I was greeted with warm friendly adults. I didn’t understand until one older gentleman came up to me and told me how great it was that I got right with God. All because my appearance. I didn’t meet the check list of what holiness was with long hair.
It is so easy for us as to get caught up in religion and forget the true grace of God. We attend church and have our functions and get caught up in the do and do not do. Church degrades into a list of requirements. If we dress well enough and attend the appropriate minimum number of church functions we will be holy. If we want to be saintly we can hit midweek service for extra brownie points. The temple of Jesus time had these problems as well. Reread the Gospels and pay attention to the Pharisees and Sadducee’s. So caught up with the do and do not do that (truthfully the law) that they would not accept Jesus for who He was. For them they couldn’t even eat with the uncircumcised or people like prostitutes without being unholy and the very act of Jesus doing so was an affront to them.
That was also a major problem in the early church. Galatians is a great book for understanding that the law; what we do; has no bearing on our holiness. In it Paul describes how even Peter was caught up with the law and how he confronted him. We must remember it is entirely through grace we are saved. You are not enough to be holy. You will never be, and that’s ok because Jesus fulfilled the requirements for that. We are just sinners saved by grace and it is only in that state of grace that we are truly walking in the spirit. That’s not to say that you can do what you want as long as you give God lip service. But it’s a state of dwelling in Christ through faith.
This is just a touch of what God’s been putting on my heart lately, and to be honest my words are so inadequate for the topic. I would highly suggest this as a study, Galatians is good starting point and so are the gospels. Look at how Jesus treats the sinners. He dined with prostitutes and shunned the religious elite. He was more concerned with love and grace then pretending that we could save ourselves by following the do and do not do of the law. The very fact that the Christ, Our Lord turned down the religious leaders to eat with prostitutes and sinners is amazing. Remember we will never be able to fulfill the requirements of the Law as the Old Testament lays out, keep sight of Grace, of Christ. Don’t let false holiness keep you away reaching out to love those around you.
For a better teacher on Grace I highly suggest The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out by Brennan Manning. You can also google his name and come up with a lot of great videos. Entirely worth watching.
20I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Glatians 2:20 NKJV