“It is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Only when you know deep down in your soul that you have been saved by God’s grace and that you are loved unconditionally, fully forgiven and completely accepted in the Beloved will you stop doing so many things that rob you of the joy of your salvation and the abundant life that Jesus promised to give you.
Trying to earn God’s favor? STOP IT!
Trying to receive God’s blessing? STOP IT!
Trying to win God’s affection? STOP IT!
Trying to justify God’s acceptance? STOP IT!
Trying to deserve God’s approval? STOP IT!
Trying to merit God’s mercy? STOP IT!
Trying to garner God’s grace? STOP IT!
Trying to warrant God’s forgiveness? STOP IT!
Trying to secure God’s love? STOP IT!
When Jesus cried out from the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30), He meant what He said! The penalty for your pardon and acceptance has been paid in full. Jesus did not make a down-payment on your salvation, nor did He make partial payment; Jesus paid the penalty for your sins and mine fully and finally. As the lovely nineteenth-century hymn exults, “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe; sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”
You have been set free from bondage to yourself and united to Jesus, who is the source of every imaginable joy and blessing. You need not strive to receive it. You simply need to rest (many versions of the Bible use the word abide) in the reality of your redemption. Jesus made this abundantly clear by saying, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man abides in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). God did not save you by His amazing grace and then expect you to measure up to that so-great salvation by living a holy life. If you are clinging to the belief that “good works” will earn you favor with God, allow Isaiah 64:6 to settle that question in your mind forevermore: “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” There is nothing you can do to earn God’s favor; Jesus has already done all that for you!
He has measured up for you
The unbelieving world tells us that we have to measure up in order to get what we are looking for out of life. “Be more! Do more! Become more! Believe more! Try harder!” But the truth is that no one can measure up to God’s perfect standard of righteousness, no matter how hard we try. The glorious good news of the Gospel is that Jesus has measured up for you and has already given you everything you need or ever will need in this life and the life to come. Our flesh is always trying to earn something, which is why we must live in the power of the Holy Spirit and accept the truth that we already have received every imaginable spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3).
You may be wondering, “How can I know this is true?” You can be sure it is true because of the cross of Christ. The cross is not only something God the Father did through God the Son in the power of God the Holy Spirit to set us free from the bondage to sin, Satan and death. Yes, it did all that, but the cross is the very essence of the reality of who God IS. God is not just loving; He is love! God is not just righteous; He is righteousness! At the cross . . .
“Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other” (Psalm 85:10 ESV).
Transfer your trust to Jesus
And God did all this when we had absolutely no interest in Him. The depths to which God went to rescue rebels on the run from Him is as unfathomable as it is incredible. The Law says “Do,” but the Gospel says “Done!” You simply must stop expecting your obedience to the Law — your good works—to do what Jesus has already done. The Law was never intended to save you. The Law was never intended to sanctify you. The Law was given to drive you to your knees before the One who could save you and sanctify you. Transferring your trust to Jesus will empower you to stop looking at yourself to do, do, do and fix your eyes on Jesus, who did it all on your behalf. When we do that, we will stop trying to achieve God’s blessings as a reward for our good works, and we will allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through us to do what is pleasing and acceptable to God. And when we mess things up — which we will inevitably do over and over and over again — we have a Savior who has already forgiven us.
If you have placed your trust in Jesus Christ for your eternal salvation, no good deed will ever make God love you more and no bad deed will ever make Him love you less. You’ve been trying and trying . . . STOP IT! Stop running from God and trying to hide when you fail, because Jesus has already nailed all your sin to the cross and cleansed it with His blood. Simply repent of your sin and rest in the reality of your redemption, because there is nothing in the universe that can ever separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus. You have His Word on that!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!
For more articles by Dr. Tommy Boland, visit goodnewsfl.org/tommy-boland.