“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us” (Ephesians 1:7-8, ESV).
We in the church haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of grace. We take only tiny sips from the cup of grace from time to time in our walk with God before we begin to rely on our own abilities.
When Jesus says we are to be born again, have faith, pray, seek His face, and love our neighbor, His every command is yes and amen. We are required to do what He calls us to do, not pick and choose our areas of obedience.
Some churches prefer certain areas of obedience over others. They emphasize evangelism, social justice, political activism, serving the poor, or prayer. But no church is pleasing to God when it runs on one cylinder instead of eight. Any person or church that is not obeying God’s commands is living in disobedience! He simply will not allow us to ignore certain of His commands.
Yet perfect obedience is not possible; it isn’t within the realm of our ability. The reason we choose certain areas of obedience is because they are easier to fulfill than others.
Having a life of joy and victory does not hinge on whether we succeed or fail at obeying God’s commands; it has everything to do with how we go about obeying His commands. When I was young, one of my youth leaders told me, “You can change yourself so that temptations don’t return. You have the ability to pull yourself out of anything.” Really? It doesn’t take long to see how futile that really is.
We cannot make changes in ourselves. We must allow God’s grace to empower us and bring transformation — in ourselves and in our world.