“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24)
My friends, if you knew me, you would not like me, you would not want to spend even a single moment around me. How many of you who have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ can honestly admit that, how many of you can agree with Romans 7:18, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” How many of you who have been born-again, chosen by the Most High God to be heirs to the Kingdom of heaven see yourselves as vile, detestable creatures not worthy of His mercy.
If indeed this is true of you, as well it should be when we see ourselves in the light of the infinite Holiness of God Almighty, then how many of you are trying to be better Christians, working to make yourself acceptable in His eyes?
God is not expecting us to be righteous, He expects us to be holy and blameless before Him in love.
This is almost an impossibility for most to comprehend, the truth of 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Along with Colossians 3:3, “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” In the eyes of God, we are already righteous for we are in Christ and He is righteous, no work you could perform could make you more righteous, it is not possible.
Can anything be called a work if it is done out of a heart of love, is there anything that we do that is a burden to us when it is done solely out of a love for the One we serve? A man whose wife became deathly ill spent every waking moment by her side caring for her every need, and when she died, his friends asked him how he could ever withstand such a burden on his life. His answer expressed his deep love and devotion for his wife, “It was never a burden, it was an honor and a privilege.”
Any obligation that becomes a burden is not done in love, any work that you perform that brings even a hint of being seen as detestable in your eyes is not done in love.
“For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.” (Acts 9:16)
The Lord Jesus Christ said that to Ananias the prophet, I have always wondered if He said those same words to Paul. How many years later after that encounter on the road to Damascus did Paul write, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” (Phil. 3:10)
The nearer the Lord God draws you to Himself, the more we see the detestable conditions of ourselves, and the more we cry O wretched man that I am. I really do not like who I am, and I do not think you would either, but I believe you would like who I am becoming, who I am being made into the image of.
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5) but if we listen to the Holy Spirit, if we cast away any thought of works that we can do that the Lord would honor and see as acceptable, if we remain obedient to His will for His glory solely out of love for Him, then “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Phil. 4:13) becomes truth in our lives.
His grace, my friends, is sufficient.
If you desire to serve the Lord Jesus Christ out of love solely for the glory of God, then He will lead you to the works that He not only would have you do, but He will empower you to accomplish them. If you trust in Him, He will direct your path.
How God sees us now, in Christ, is how He is always and forever going to see us. Once you understand this truth, you will indeed be free.