Daily Radio Bible Podcast
Your Good Stuff has Never Been Enough
Today’s readings are Job 28 – 29 and Galatians 1 – 2. We are reading from the New Living Translation.
Many a good man and good woman have been deceived into thinking that the law is their refuge and their hope. They think that when the day comes and their life ends, they will pull out the long record of their virtues and weigh them against the things they have done wrong, and there they will find hope and salvation. They’re counting on their virtues, their obedience to the law, to be their salvation.
That’s the old heart system. We love that system. Our old heart doesn’t want to let that go. It’s kind of like a spiritual Stockholm syndrome. We’ve fallen in love with this captor and we want to return to it, even when we’ve been set free! This system makes sense to us. We think that if we’ve done more good than bad, surely that has to count for something. We are counting on our own righteousness. There’s an underlying belief that we can justify ourselves before God by the good things we do. We always want to return to this. Peter did. Barnabas did. I do. And you do. Anytime we try to justify ourselves before God instead of looking to Jesus alone, to set us free, than we’re just returning back to that old system that we love so much.
We tend to look at ourselves through rose-colored glasses. We think a lot more of our virtues than what really exists. Paul said, when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me! That’s what the law does. If you want to come to the end of your days and pull out your long list of virtues and weigh them against what you did wrong, that might not be a good idea. That list will condemn you. That’s what Paul said. He stopped trying to meet all those requirements, so that he could truly live for God. He had to put away that old system to walk into new Life in Christ.
Are you relying on what’s on your list? Instead look to what’s on Jesus’ list. Your old self is crucified with Christ. It’s easy to look at that statement and see the ‘old self’ as your alcoholism, your anger, your arrogance, your lust, as the things that are crucified with Christ. Yes, it includes that. But that’s not what Paul is talking about here. He’s talking about the things that people consider as virtues! He’s saying, my whole list of virtues that I had in my back pocket, that I was counting on to justify myself before God, are worthless. Those are the things that I’m crucifying. They are not enough. I’m not righteous enough. I can’t stand before God on my own. I need someone else to stand for me. I’m not just crucifying the bad things. I’m crucifying the good things, too.
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20)
Our good stuff has never been enough. It takes time to retrain our hearts, to put on Christ instead of put on the law. It was after Paul became a Christian, that he stopped trying to meet all those requirements. It took time for Peter, and Barnabas and the Galatians, and you and I. It takes time, not only to put to death our vices, but to stop counting on our virtues, as well. Make yourself at home, in Christ’s life, and let His life be at home in you. It’s no longer you that lives, but Christ that lives in you.