I’m not as great as I think I am. I have lied, cheated, stolen, coveted… If I were to be judged by the 10 Commandments, I’d be found guilty and condemned without parol. Thank God that my starting point with God is not the 10 Commandments.
You may be better than me, or worse than me, but you’re in the same position I’m in. You’ve done wrong, and if you were judged according to the 10 Commandments, you’d be found guilty. Thank God that’s not your starting point with God.
Galatians 3:15-22 shows us the real reason your good behaviour doesn’t connect you with God.
1. God started with a promise, not behaviour
Abraham, the architect that shows us how this all works, was declared righteous. It wasn’t because of his behaviour. It couldn’t have been – he was an idol maker, and the son of an idol maker. Abraham wasn’t any better than you or I. Abraham was declared righteous because of his belief.
God gave a promise to you and I through Abraham. God promised that righteousness comes by faith, not by our ability to behave, obey, perform, or be nice.
2. God’s Law has shown us that our behaviour is unrighteous
When God gave Israel the Law it wasn’t to enable them to connect with him based on their ability to obey. The Law was given to reveal two natures and the problem that exists. First, the Law reveals the nature of God – He is perfect. Second, it reveals the nature of people – we are so very far away from perfect. Because the two natures are incompatible a problem is revealed – our unrighteousness makes it impossible to connect with a righteous God.
The Law points out the problem of relying on our behaviour to connect us with God. Because of our less than perfect behaviour we will not be declared righteous and we will not be entitled to the benefits within the Law (benefits like eternal life).
It’s impossible to be declared righteous because it’s impossible for us to behave as perfectly as God behaves.
3. God’s promise is your only real option
Righteousness is given to us as a gift for just one reason. When we believe in Jesus we are declared righteous. Because of our unrighteousness, our tendency to desire and do what is forbidden, God’s promise is our only real choice.
If you believe in Jesus then you have been declared righteous, and your are connected with God. You’re His child, you have His Spirit within you, and you have the promise of eternity. Yes, you’re going to fail, slip up, do something wrong… you’re even going to sin. So am I. We’re never going to be good enough. That’s why we continue to hold onto our faith in Jesus and work at growing our friendship with God.
So, here’s the real reason your good behaviour doesn’t connect you with God – God promised to declare you to be righteous based on your faith, not on your ability to be good (which the Law has shown to be absolutely unrighteous).
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