August 20, 2013 by Anthony Ward
Right doing does not produce right believing. Right believing will produce right doing. But the moment you try to believe right in order to change your “doing” you have fallen from grace and you are right back to “doing” instead of believing.
The goal is not right doing, the goal is right believing. In other words we should be able to give our attention to right believing without the pressure of it producing right doing. The result of right believing will be fruit that we bear, not because we have to, but because we can’t help ourselves. That’s just what happens when you believe the right things. And what is it that we are believing? The gospel of Jesus Christ.
Are the ten commandments good? Yes. The apostle Paul said they were good. They have a two-fold purpose.
- To show us what sin is and that sin is the reason we are hurting and in trouble.
- To show us that no matter how hard we try to obey the law to get out of trouble we will fail. You may not fail at the sin I fail at and I may not fail at the sin you fail at but we will all fail somewhere, just differently. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory. Rom 3:23
So the question is, what do you do with your sin once you commit it?
Do you confess your sin and then try hard not to do it again? Do you ask for forgiveness in such a way that you are almost waiting for a yes or no response back from God? And when you don’t hear a definitive “Yes you are forgiven” you experience guilt. You then continue to feel guilty until enough time passes by without sinning again that you are able to rid yourself of the guilty feeling of condemnation. Then, because you are able to change your behaviour long enough to believe that you are now forgiven, you naturally assume that changing your behaviour will change your believing, until you sin once again and cycle through the same pattern over and over again.
Jesus said, “Repent and believe the gospel” because right believing will produce right doing. (Repent means-to change your mind, to think differently in order to change)
What would happen if, every time you sinned, you believed the gospel? The gospel is the good news that through the cross of Jesus Christ we are completely forgiven of all of our sins, past, present and future. And not only are we forgiven but something was added to us and that “something” was Christ’s righteousness. Through faith in Christ we are made righteous. We can’t earn it. We now, through the cross, have the right to stand in God’s presence without any sense of shame, guilt or condemnation as if sin never even existed.
Therefore, every time you sin you should focus on the fact that you are already forgiven and simply need to receive His forgiveness by faith. And then focus on the fact that you have been made righteous. Believe that you are righteous and stop focusing on your sin and failure. By believing that you are righteous through the cross of Jesus Christ your behaviour will supernaturally change. You don’t change because you have to in order to merit God’s love, acceptance or blessing; you change because you can’t help yourself. It’s called fruit! Right believing produces right doing. But right doing is not the goal. Even fruit is not the goal. Believing in the gospel of Jesus Christ is the goal.