If you’re human, you’ve probably broken your share of good intentions. Maybe you’ve even given up trying to quit smoking or spending too much, or stop becoming angry at your children, saying that this is the way you are and you’ll never change. Everyone is allowed a vice, right?
Not according to God! He promises His children that He will never leave them, as I talked about last time. But this also means He will never leave us in our sins, but will ceaselessly work to convict and correct those things in us that are working to our detriment. Jesus didn’t come to save us IN our sins, but FROM them.
“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins,” Matthew 1:21.
And you wouldn’t want it any other way! Suppose you were walking with a friend who was losing his/her balance too close to the edge of a steep cliff. Wouldn’t you alert your friend of the danger and even lend a hand to help him/her regain balance?
This is what God does. He reaches out a hand to you because He knows that if you continue on in the direction you’re headed, that it will go badly for you in the long run. Therefore He gives you rules as a steady hand to help you gain or regain your spiritual balance.
We tend to rebel against rules. But without rules we would damage our lives and society.
Example: the “rule” that says if you put grape juice in your car’s gas tank, you will be unable to go where you want to go. It doesn’t matter if you own a vineyard and can get grapes free. What matters is that your car won’t run on grape juice!
One of God’s rules is taking care of your body.
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s,” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
Just like the car, if you put substances into your body that are poisonous, your body will eventually break down. God’s rules are there to steady you and protect you from this breakdown.
In our society murdering another person is wrong and punishable. Where did we get that idea? From God!
“You shall not murder,” Exodus 20:13.
The flip side of this rule is “Value life as God does.” Survival of society, as well as individual life, depends on following this rule. Even common sense tells us that if murder were legal, anyone who is angry with someone would legally be able to end a life – and chaos would reign. God wants to protect us from this.
God has more rules than just those, but each one of them is for our own good.
Some say that now that we live under grace we are no longer bound by these rules. But if that’s true, then we are our own gods, knowing what’s best for ourselves. That would take God – and Jesus – totally out of the picture, as we would be walking this life on our own.
It would be like saying that once a child is born into a family he/she can do anything they desire without regard or respect to the family. After all, the child now belongs. How ridiculous! Every family has rules and ways of relating. Every loving parent lays down rules for the protection and happiness of everyone in the family. So does God.
If we truly are God’s, then as His family we truly ARE bound by His rules.
But we never keep those rules on our own. It’s only the grace of God that enables us to obey.
In His faithfulness He has sent the Holy Spirit as a Guide to convict, convince, correct, and change us so that we don’t stray from the way of life that God knows is the best way for us.
“Nevertheless I (Jesus) tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (the Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment,” John 16:7-8.
We are not our own gods, knowing the way to go. We need the guiding, steadying hand of God in the person of the Holy Spirit. We need God’s grace to enable us to obey, for we cannot even do that on our own. But in mercy He covers us with His grace!
“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him,” Philippians 2:13.
God even gives us the desire to obey! To say that we do not have to obey God and follow His rules is to slap Him in the face and disregard His grace.
Praise God – we are under His steadying, guiding, enabling grace, and by His grace we obey Him!
In what ways can you praise God for this aspect of His grace? Please leave a comment below.