In my last post I talked a little bit about what the Lord has to say about living as resurrected believers in Jesus Christ. Specifically, I asked what does it look like to live the abundant life Jesus gave us and what does it mean to reign in life?
I certainly don’t believe at this point in my life that I have figured this out, but I think I have exhausted myself finding ways NOT to live abundantly or to reign in life. So I think that is a starting point, what is it NOT?
Over a year ago, through a series of what I believed at the time to be random mouse clicks (now I know for certain it was God’s divine plan), I stumbled across the most profound, uncomplicated, bondage breaking teaching on grace I have ever heard from a man I had never heard of, Terry Virgo. The three-part series I heard was called, “God’s Lavish Grace.” I could never do his message justice, but one particular point stopped me in my tracks: the sufficiency of the sacrifice.
He shared how in the Old Testament people would bring their perfect, spotless lambs for sacrifice to the Temple. When they arrived the priest would inspect the animal they had brought to see if it was good enough. The interesting thing is the priest never inspected the person who brought the offering. It didn’t matter what their job was, what clothes they wore or how they did their hair. The sacrifice is what made the person acceptable to God by atoning for their sin.
His point (and mine)? Jesus was our perfect sacrifice. In fact, His sacrifice was so sufficient that it covered all sin for all time (past, present and future) for all who believe. So why do we (or maybe I should just say ‘I’ in case I am the only one) keep living like we have to measure up to some standard we can never meet? Why do I keep inspecting myself, so to speak, to determine what I am doing right and wrong? Why do I keep trying to make myself acceptable to God? Why do I keep TRYING HARDER?
I spent a lot of years doing a lot of things, particularly Christian service, trying to prove to God that I was good enough for Him. I tried to be Superwoman for Jesus. I mean He did give His life for me, right? Shouldn’t the least I do be to kill myself for Him? I was in church every time the doors were open. I volunteered for anything Jesus needed me for, or at least anything with a sign-up sheet. I read my Bible diligently. I prayed for everything and everyone I could think of. And you know what? It NEVER felt like enough.
You know why it wasn’t enough? Because I couldn’t repay a debt that I was unable to pay in the first place! In hind sight it sounds ridiculous…I was trying to repay Christ for my salvation, for the GIFT of righteousness. Gifts and debts are not the same thing. The gift of salvation was exactly that, a gift to be received, unwrapped, treasured and enjoyed. Debts are bondage, plain and simple.
According to 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NASB): “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Bottom line? The sacrifice of Jesus, and believing in Him, was all it took to make me right with God. Abundant life, reigning in life IS NOT trying harder.