The charge to be pure, sinless, and upright arouses the age-old question: “But how can we live this way?” We tried and failed miserably in our own strength. We wanted to obey the law of God residing within our conscience (see Romans 2:14-15), but we repeatedly failed.
But then came grace. We couldn’t earn it by good behavior and still can’t. We didn’t deserve it and still don’t. God’s gift completely forgives us and will continue to when we fall short. We have been saved from our sins!
Even though we have this wonderful knowledge, we are still frustrated by our inability to keep His instructions. Why is it such a struggle? We have been born again with a new nature, so why do we keep failing?
At this point we may think we have an option, one that gives us an out. We can teach that holiness refers only to our position in Christ and altogether neglect the scriptures calling us to holy behavior, thus alleviating any conviction. We can excuse our lack of transformation because, after all, we are only human and will continually make mistakes. Our focus will be solely on an abbreviated doctrine of grace – how it covers all sins past, present, and future. If we teach and believe only this, we foster a false security, for we’ve silenced our consciences. Yet if we listen more carefully to our hearts, we will hear them crying out, “There must be more!”
Sadly, many of us have settled for this option and, in doing so, neglected a boatload of New Testament scriptures calling us to a godly lifestyle. I could list many pages of scripture on this topic, but allow me to start with just one passage:
My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. …And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. (1 John 2:1, 3-6 NLT)
John didn’t write, “Don’t worry if you sin because, after all, we’re human.” No, he bluntly writes “that you will not sin.” This should be our target. If we miss it, we do have the blood of Jesus that cleanses us. Our goal, however, is to live just as Jesus did. And according to scripture, it’s not an impossible goal. So the choice to overlook repeated sin due to “human nature” doesn’t align with John’s words or numerous other New Testament scriptures.
Is there something missing? Would God not have foreseen our dilemma and already devised a plan? In fact, He did! It’s the option less spoken of, but it aligns perfectly with the overall council of the New Testament. It’s the aspect of grace many are unaware of. It’s the fuel that powers our new nature. To put it simply, grace empowers us to live the good life.
Watch John Bevere this Tuesday and Thursday on LIFE TODAY. This is an excerpt from Good or God? by John Bevere. Copyright ©2015 by John P. Bevere, Jr. Published by Messenger International. Used by permission.