The distinction on the motivation for working was nicely broken down here. I fear too many trapped in legalistic or merit based faith systems are still frantically trying to make themselves pleasing to God. As you pointed out, that can’t happen. Only the righteousness of Jesus, put on our account by His death, burial and resurrection, can do that. Yet, clearly obedience and works are expected of those adopted as God’s children.
Photo: Three Crosses © Mellow Rapp | Dreamstime Stock Photos
The distinction I am making is between doing good works to become pleasing to God (works done because of law) and doing good works to please God (works done because of grace).
There’s nothing I can do to become pleasing to God. Not only would my motives be wrong in doing good, my efforts would be futile. My nature is sinful, and all the cleaning up I do amounts to rearranging dirt, not genuine washing.
For the person who believes, the work Christ did on the cross changes everything. Before, as Romans 7 says, the wanting to do good was in me, but the doing ended up being that which I hated—and that which God hates too, I might add.
Because of the new nature God gave me, because of the Holy Spirit in me, and because of the strength…
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