8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Since when did God ever say to His children, “You are obligated to do such and such because I saved you…” or “You better be good or this is over!” or “You need to do this or I won’t love you anymore.” Never.
That’s not our God. The only “must do” in God’s book for us is to receive and accept His love and mercy, not work through a set of rules and obligations in order to earn or prove something to Him. History has proven over and over that we suck at must dos anyway.
So, why on earth do we feel so obligated all the time? We say things like: “I better not miss church, or…”, “I better give a full ten percent tithe, or…”, or “I better be this way or that way or…”
We need to stop that. We really do. What do we think grace means? Do we do good or behave well because we don’t want to lose God’s love, or because we want to show God our love?
Why do we walk around with so much fear? Why don’t we trust. We don’t believe God’s promises. We don’t trust His grace. There’s got to be a catch, right?
Humanity is so fickle. People stop being friends over ridiculous things. Fathers abandon children. Mothers expect perfection. Friends demand attention. But is that who we are, as children of God? Is that our legacy? No wonder we can’t trust God! We can’t always even count on our own family!
Wasn’t the whole point of God’s plan to get us out of that mess that is “obligation”, and into the peace of not having to worry about that stuff anymore?
But the ten commandments! What about those, you say!? Those are rules. Those are obligations!
“For it is by grace that we have been saved….”
The ten commandments. The Golden Rule. They aren’t contradictions, they aren’t demands. They aren’t obligations. They’re all just a way for God to show us how hopeless we are without Him and how beautiful life can be with Him.
There’s no random list of rules. No list of obligations. No “you better, or…” All any of those rules God laid out to us proved is that we can’t do it. We’re going to make a golden calf every single time, because we’re scared and broken and full of our own great ideas, and have no trust in God.
But we can’t do anything good enough to earn God or His love. We just can’t. He has been offering us those things since the beginning of time. And we could either accept it or not.
Grace. Forgiveness. Love. Why do we want this from people, but struggle to receive it from God? Maybe it’s fear. Maybe it’s obligation. Maybe it’s habit. It doesn’t really matter why,
God loves us. He doesn’t obligate us. He loves without condition. He loves when we hate. When we are evil. When we are wrong. When we are broken. He loves us.
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
He gave us Christ so we wouldn’t be obligated. He gave us Christ because He loves us. Only in Christ can we recieve God’s love and forgiveness. Only in Christ could God give us what we need, what we deserve, what we want. Only Christ could take our deserving punishment of death and conquer it. Only Christ could give us His love without asking anything in return. Only Christ could reunite us with what the Creator of the Universe.
The only way we can screw that up is to not believe it.
So, please stop fighting it. Just recieve it.
16 “For God so loved the world,[i] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”