>Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Galatians 3:3
There is a tension in the Christian life between what we do and what God does. While the Bible tells us that “without Him we can do nothing” (John 15:5) we argue back that “if we do nothing, it’s without Him.” Our Christian walk requires both our effort and God’s grace. It’s a lopsided balanced that depends on God much more than us. It’s not up to us. But, it does involve us.
If we fully depend on Christ for our salvation (as we should), but live however we want, then we have to wonder if we’re saved at all. Salvation should make a radical difference in our lives. If we say that we follow God, but we don’t have any desire for Him, then we should question whether we belong to God at all.
But, on the other side, if we feel that rule-following is the guarantee of our salvation, then we’ve got it wrong. The guarantee of our salvation is the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:21-22), not rule-keeping.
When the people of God live as if they don’t need God, then we’ve got a problem. I’m not talking about believers that are so caught up in the things of the world that they ignore God. I’m speaking of those of us who attempt to live our lives so perfectly that we don’t need grace and forgiveness. In our minds, we’ve done nothing wrong. If you’ve done nothing wrong, then you don’t need God.
The problem is that those who don’t feel the need for a daily dose of grace are living well according to a list, but it’s not God’s list. They put a heavy burden on themselves and attempt to live a life that God hasn’t called them to.
The Bible addresses the tension between God’s work and our work this way: “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:12-13). Who’s working? Is God working? Yes, God is working. Are we working? Yes, we are working. It’s not a competition. Believers and God work together to fulfill His good purpose.
Where are you tempted to depend on yourself for your spiritual well-being? What do you do or intentionally avoid to maintain your salvation? Are you fully trusting God or are you trusting your own efforts? There are no self-made believers.
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