Woman Breaking Chains

“… by faith ye stand.” (II Corinthians 1:24)

Is our relationship with the Lord based upon our ability to be obedient?

That ability is popularly taught as the strength of our Christian willpower, devotion, sincerity, willingness to sacrifice, choices to be unselfish, choices to love others, and our dedication to bringing our will into line with what the Lord wants us to do. 

Which, for all practical purposes, is taught as a combination deal between us and the Lord; as the way we can overcome our bad tendencies, lack of discipline, lusts, bad habits, and a host of other bad stuff we cope with as believers. 

However, that is not what the Bible really teaches.

The word of God makes it clear that there is nothing within us that we can latch onto in order to improve our inner or outer performance levels.

We are actually totally bankrupt when it comes to our inner resources. Or at least those “resources” that the church tries to motivate and excite in order to get us to conform to their standard of discipleship. 

In effect, we are without hope in this area.

Because the flesh lusts against the Spirit. So that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Galatians 5:17)

What then are we to do? How are we to obey the Lord? How do we “bring all things under subjection“, as Paul said?

A Brand New Kind of Life

The life of the believer is to be lived by faith. 

We were born-again by faith.

We started out by faith. And we now walk by faith. And we will continue to the end of our physical lives by faith. 

That will simply never change. We will not reach some status as believers where we have achieved a level of spirituality where we can move out of or above the realm of faith.

There is no new, additional ground upon which we can stand with confidence. 

Grace Surrounding 

In other words, we must never trust our own abilities to do good. Not even to keep ourselves from doing bad.

Not even to meet one of those least requirements of obedience to Christ which we are often tempted to believe we can accomplish for a season.

Which many attempt to fulfill by “spiritual” disciplines or other self-imposed acts; in the hope that we might reach some higher level of spiritual righteousness. Which is the entire false promise behind the “Contemplative Spirituality” movement. 

As in Colossians it says, “Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh“. (Colossians 2:23

Instead, we are continually and forever brought back to our true status as believers. Which will never change. 

And that status is, simply, that we stand upon grace.

Beneath us is also grace. And around us is even more grace. Above us is grace abounding. And everywhere else is grace surrounding. 

Yes. We have nothing in ourselves. Except for the Lord, Himself, dwelling within us. 

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (Romans 7:18) 

To Be Continued . . . 

Image by Elias from Pixabay