Many Christians today are exhausted by their efforts to ward off sin. They are drained of every last ounce of joy, and the victory Christ 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 both God’s righteousness and our own. That would mean there are two gospels: His and ours. We cannot mix our self-righteousness with God’s holy righteousness.
But aren’t we supposed to put forth some effort? Doesn’t the Bible say we are to avoid sin? Yes, but there is only one way for us to avoid sin and that is through Jesus. He is not just a truth we accept, He is the living God and His sanctifying work never stops day or night.
Paul answers the question of self-effort in Romans 9. 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). These people did not get worn down by their own efforts; they were not weighed down by their failures. They put all their faith in Jesus’ work on the cross for them — and they were sustained by His abundant life.
“Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4). This verse has brought freedom to all generations of believers. 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).
Friend, are you worn down from trying to do better? Are you weary of the endless cycle of recommitment and failure? Then put it all behind you; let your striving end. Your right standing with the Lord does not depend upon your will but on God, who has mercy on us.