Throughout the New Testament we receive instructions on holy living. Yet we are also told that we are not under the law, but under grace. We are told that our righteousness comes by faith, not by works. What gives? Are we supposed to straighten up or not?
This puzzled me for many years. But now it makes sense.
Here’s how I understand it. When we invite Jesus to take charge of our lives, we become new people—completely new (2 Corinthians 5:17). This is a work of grace. The instruction for holy living is merely a description of who we really are. Yet, clearly, sometimes our behavior and our desires are not consistent with this new identity. How do we account for that difference?
Deception. At some level, we are deceived. If our hearts could see things from God’s perspective, there would be no discrepancy between the holy standards set in scripture and our own everyday lives. We would always want what God wants. So when we find these instructions for holy living to be jarring, this is an opportunity for us to invite Jesus further into the broken places in our lives. There He does His work of grace to remove deception so God’s heart becomes our heart.
It’s all grace, all the time. Yet God’s holy standards are never compromised. That’s how I see it. What about you?