A lot of Christians today are worn down from their efforts to ward off sin. They pour all their energies into it until they’re drained of every last ounce of joy. The victory Christ has won for them gets lost in their dogged efforts to establish a righteousness of their own.
Righteousness that is pursued by anything other than faith will always fail. You see, there cannot be God’s righteousness and our righteousness. That would mean there are two Gospels: His and ours. We cannot mix our self-righteousness with God’s holy righteousness.
Maybe you wonder, “But aren’t we supposed to put forth some effort? Doesn’t the Bible say we’re to avoid sin?” The only way to avoid sin is through Jesus! He is not just a truth you accept; He is the living God and your Sanctifier. His sanctifying work in you never stops day or night.
Paul answers the question of self-effort in Romans 9 when he speaks of a people who actually attained righteousness: “[The] Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith” (Romans 9:30, ESV). These people did not get worn down by their own efforts nor were they weighed down by their failures. They put all their faith in Jesus’ work for them on the cross—and they were sustained by His abundant life.
“Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4). Christ is the end. There is nothing else! “So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy” (Romans 9:16). These verses have brought freedom to all generations of believers.
Friend, are you worn down from trying to do better? Are you weary of the endless cycle of recommitment and failure? Put it all behind you! Let all your striving cease. Your right standing with the Lord does not depend on your will but on God, who has mercy. Trust in Him alone for your victory.