If I am understanding Galatians 2 rightly, it is a stunning correction to one of my deepest inclinations!
According to Paul–and my heart agrees, my greatest temptation is the strong inclination to reject grace in favor of rule-keeping, moral behavior as a basis of relationship with God. I can not ponder this too often or make too much of it.
When I seek to make my behaving the basis of my relationship with God I have torpedoed the glorious gospel of grace. In fact, if my arms are not open wide receiving then I am rejecting Christ’s perfect and complete work by offering. Do I really think I have any thing to offer to the gift of salvation? He said “It is finished!” To reject grace is to substitute self effort!
Sinclair Ferguson reminds me that the glory of the gospel is that God has declared believers to be rightly related to Him in spite of our sin. That is the amazing part of amazing grace! But our greatest temptation and mistake is to try to smuggle some of our faulty, blemished character into His complete and perfect work of grace.
My greatest need is to be reminded daily that I contribute nothing but my sin to my relationship with Christ and He graciously and freely covers my weakness with His perfection! That is a great and amazing gospel.
My attempt to achieve acceptance or forgiveness or approval from God through any effort of my own is really a twisted form of self worship. Thomas Schreiner put it this way, ” The desire to obey the law, though appearing commendable is actually an insidious way to gain recognition before God”. Sounds serious enough that I want to REPENT and RECEIVE! My arms are open and ready to receive today’s grace gift Lord!
I am under the heady influence of C.J. Mahaney’s sermon, “Enjoying Grace and Detecting Legalism”.