“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” (James 1:6)
If you do not go to church, your prayers will not be answered, if you forsake the assembling of yourselves, if you do not attend regularly and with joy in your heart, your prayers will go unheard. If you look wrongfully at someone in lust, if you say a bad word, if you have an evil thought, your prayers will not be accepted by God.
This is how many people think, their obedience is required at all times, they cannot find rest in the completed work of Christ. And it is not only their prayer life that they envision here, but the fulfillment of what they consider a “moral law,” a construct of certain actions they must perform and adhere to before they can even consider approaching the throne of grace humbly, much less boldly.
What say you to this then? “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” (Eph. 1:4)
Works in an attempt to please God is the destroyer of a life attempted to live for His glory, they are a trap, they are the “ministration of death,” (2nd Cor. 3:7) But it is nigh on impossible for many to believe these truths.
“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” (Heb. 10:4) Yet many believe that by adhering to a certain moral code they will bring the favor of the Almighty upon them, that by some form of works they will be blessed by God, and that most generally in a materialistic manner, life will go well and last long if you do what you are told, if you put forth the effort.
“For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.” (Psalm 51:16)
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ does not hinge on obedience to the law, whether it be that of the Old Testament or the constructs envisioned in the mind of a person, those good and right moral conducts they believe set them apart from the wicked, it rests in the belief that the work, all the work necessary, has been completed by Christ, and that nothing we do can add to that work.
Millions sit in the pews of Evangelical churches every Sunday morning who do not understand this truth, they are to keep every thought captive for Christ, but they cannot, they are to love their enemy, to be Holy, to pray without ceasing, but they cannot, but they think that if they keep trying they will attain what no one has ever been able to do, be pleasing in the eyes of the living God outside of Christ, and that by their own works, by their obedience, instead of realizing that the work was completed in full at the cross.
You really should memorize and contemplate Ephesians 2:8-9. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
“If you do this, then God will do that,” is not the way of faith. We are hid in Christ, will you attempt to prove this truth by works of your own, or by submission to His will?
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
The response to this verse does not begin with works, but with love, in submission to the Holy Spirit, in no matter what way He calls us. You can add nothing to His sacrifice.