We live in a world built on transaction. We give and we get. We only receive what we earn or deserve. We’re hired and fired based on our abilities and performance. We commit our lives to this system of cause and effect, relishing the days of success and wincing at the thought of failure. And often as believers we take this system of works we’ve grown so comfortable with and apply it to our relationship with God. We operate with God much like we operate with an employer. We think if we can go to church, give God our money, spend enough time with him in the morning, be happy, and help people, then God will like us. If we can stop sinning, then God will love us more. But God’s ways are not like ours. The New Testament names this transactional relationship with God as living under the law and tells us of a new system through Christ called grace.
God established the law as a system for his people to be cleansed through sacrifice. For thousands of years God’s holiness required his children to pay a price for their sin in order to be in relationship with him. Sin separated us from our heavenly Father like a cell wall separating a prisoner from freedom. Our only hope for guidance and love was living by the commands of our just and holy God, and we failed miserably. So grace stepped in where works could never prevail. Galatians 4:4-7 says:
When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Jesus lived the perfect life none of us could, and then offered himself as the final and resounding sacrifice, buying freedom for all who would believe in him. He saved you and me from the law and offers us grace.
But still we persist in paying the penalty for our own sin as if the death of Jesus wasn’t enough. Still we choose a transactional relationship over one of grace. But what we often don’t understand is how foundational grace is to freedom from sin. 1 Corinthians 15:56-57 says, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” When we live under the law we are bound by sin and separated from victory in Christ. And Romans 6:14 says, “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” It’s by living in grace that we experience continual freedom from sin. In our own strength we are powerless against the schemes of the enemy. But in God’s grace we live by his strength. In acknowledging our need of God’s grace and help, we live by the power of God.
You see, we are meant to be fueled for freedom by the unconditional love of our heavenly Father. He offers grace-filled love to guide us out of the systems of this world. It’s the power of restored relationship that lays the foundation for us to choose satisfaction in him over the world. Galatians 5:1 says, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” You are no longer enslaved to the law. Christ has set you free. So you have to choose to submit to the life of grace you’ve been offered. You have to choose to live in light of God’s power working in you instead of leaning on your own works to get you through. You have to choose to acknowledge your weakness to receive the strength his grace offers you.
Free yourself from the bondage of living life in your own strength. Cast off the chains of pride that bind you to a lifestyle of sin and receive a fresh revelation of the unconditional love of God. Your heavenly Father loves you simply because he loves you. There is nothing you can do that will make him love you more, and there is nothing you can do that will make him love you less. Allow his grace-filled love to transform your heart today and guide you into a life of freedom.