Romans 9:30-32 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works.
Here we have a very clear, very logical explanation of why legalism never works. We don’t like not having the opportunity for pride of accomplishment, so we try to accomplish righteousness/salvation on our own by following rules. Even when those rules are Biblically based, that’s never going to work because we can never be good enough. There are many “Jewish Christians” today, and I don’t mean Messianic Jews. “Jewish Christians” would be those who, like Paul is describing the Jews here, act like righteousness/salvation is by works rather than by faith. Paul wrote the whole letter to the Galatians to counter that way of thinking! It is never that we shouldn’t seek to act righteously, it is that we must acknowledge that we can’t do the job on our own, and therefore trust God to do it in and through us by His Spirit.
I’ve had to get this straight in my own thinking and living. I have had too many times when I have thought that if something seemed good and desirable to me, that was enough reason to do it, with no thought of what was making me see it that way. There have been other times when I have known I was in the wrong, and couldn’t seem to get out from under the condemnation I felt. Both of those are traps of the devil. I am to seek God’s will through His Word and His Spirit at every turn, but when I miss it, which will continue to happen from time to time (at least) as long as I inhabit this body, I am to acknowledge it, repent, ask for and receive God’s forgiveness and cleansing. (1 John 1:9) As a pastor, I seek to impart that way of thinking to all the believers, but I have had varying success. That isn’t an easy position for most of us to come to. That’s why Jesus spoke repeatedly of needing to be/become as little children. Adults tend to over-think things, when what we need is a childlike trust of our heavenly Daddy.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You also for this time of being with Cockayne Syndrome kids and their families. Thank You for the lessons in trust that they give us constantly. I pray that through these next two days of the gathering that we would be open channels of blessing to them as they are to us, so that Your purposes in allowing them to have this genetic disease may be fulfilled, for the blessing of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!