Are You Holding Back?
“Through Christ and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.” Romans 1:5
The Gospel always lives in the presence of two enemies—one is called legalism, the other is called antinomianism...
Legalism says: “Obey God’s commands, so that you may believe His promise.”
Or to put it another way, “You have to start keeping the law in order to come to Christ. If you’re going to become a Christian, clean up your life first. Leave your sins in order to come to Christ, and don’t think you can come to Him until you do.”
The problem here is obvious: If you have to clean up your life in order to come to Christ, how will anyone ever be able to come?
Antinomianism says: “Believe God’s promise, so that you may ignore His commands.”
In other words, “If you come to Christ, don’t worry about keeping the law; trust in Christ, don’t start cleaning up your life. As long as you believe, nothing else matters.”
The apostle Paul deals with this, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” (Romans 6:1). His answer is, “By no means!” Faith unites us with Christ in His death and resurrection, so that through this union the believer is brought into a new life.
In every church there will be some who, having made a decision for Christ, live carelessly and sin presumptuously. They go on doing it because they think it doesn’t really matter. There are others who, defeated by their own failure, fall many times by the same temptation. The answer to both of these conditions is found in the Gospel...
The Gospel says: “Believe God’s promise, so that you may obey His commands.”
“Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.” Romans 1:5
God calls you to a life of obedience through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. God calls you to find in Christ what you do not have, to receive from Christ what you cannot offer and to accomplish through Christ what you cannot do. Believe in order that you may obey.
Are you holding back because you think you cannot change? Come to Christ and you will find that you begin to love what you used to hate and hate what you used to love.
The obedience that is beyond you by nature is possible for you by the bond of a living union with Jesus Christ that the Bible calls faith. Through this bond, Christ will give you new desires, new affections, new strength and new life that you did not have before.
Are you holding back because you have problems and hurts? Stop looking at yourself. You won’t find the answer there. Self is an empty idol that has no power. God is calling you to faith in Christ and a life of obedience that flows from His life in you.
Are you holding back because you have doubts and questions? Come to Christ with your doubts and questions, “Lord I believe, help me in my unbelief.”
Are you holding back because your do not think you need Christ? Your obedience is far from complete. God commands you to repent and to obey the Gospel.
Are you holding back because your sins are many? Look at the cross—Jesus is there for sinners, there for you. His blood has power to cleanse you from every sin. This Savior is able to present you faultless and with great joy in the presence of Almighty God. Come to Him and find hope in Him today. Christ calls you to the obedience of faith, “Lord Jesus, today I believe Your promise, so that I may obey Your command.”
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Colin currently serves as Senior Pastor of the The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He is committed to preaching the Bible in a way that nourishes the soul by directing attention to Jesus Christ.