But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.
Obedience is enabled by grace. An intent gaze into the gospel of freedom will produce perseverance.
If we believe that God loves us more only when we behave, we will slowly slide toward indifferent paralysis. No doubt, our efforts at the outset will be noble. We will be determined to obey. And we will succeed in doing the right thing over and over again.
But eventually we will forget that it ever took any grace to be obedience in the first place. We will be perfectly obedient and perfectly self-righteous, having achieved an obedience apart from God’s power. But the obedience is not God’s obedience. We will be obedient in all the wrong ways. Actually, we’ll be disobedient.
We’ll shape God’s demands to fit our conception of obedience.
And sadly, we’ll turn shield our eyes from our gross disobedience to God’s great demand to humble ourselves.
But if we direct our gaze toward the law that gives freedom, we will never stop doing. We won’t obey to get accepted. We’re accepted, so we obey. We will see ourselves against the standard of God’s holiness, understand our need for change, rejoice in the cleansing power of the gospel, and act with full understanding that failure is inevitable. But that’s okay. I’m accepted.
If we know that our failures at obedience will be covered by the grace of God, we will be more willing to try. And the more we try, the more we’ll fail. And the more we fail, the more we’ll love the cross. And the more we love the cross the more we’ll try to live for it. It’s a messy and glorious and blessed cycleGos