And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased.
Where the gospel of grace is preached there is an offense that takes place among those who love to feel that they have earned their favor with God by their own actions and obedience.
If you have more faith in what you do and can do for God instead of what He has done for you in Christ, then that is a sure sign that you have not submitted to the REAL gospel. Furthermore, if it makes you irritated when you hear that there is nothing whatsoever you can do to improve your standing with God, beyond saying “Yes” to what He has already done, you are still allowing your flesh to glory in His presence.
You will know that you are submitting to the REAL gospel when your flesh can no longer take credit for what God is doing in you and through you. None of you but all of Jesus is the foundation of the New Covenant.
But in church we have become so familiar with everything being about us: our worship songs are all about how we feel; our serving is all about expressing our gifts; our preaching is all about how we can be successful and prosperous.
Jesus is hardly mentioned in many church services. And we are so used to it, that when we go to a church where Jesus is at the center, we may even get bored or think that the church is not relevant to us.
What we haven’t understood is that we are now IN HIM. When we focus on Him, we are included since we are now found in Him, no longer having a righteousness of our own. (Philippians 3:9)
To focus on ourselves and to obtain a list of things to do for self-improvement is pure religion. It makes people introspective and condemned, because we can never be good enough for God to accept us. The answer is to look to Jesus.
Any time you turn to Jesus, you automatically turn from sin.
The issue is never what you are turning FROM but WHO you are turning to.
The Pharisees turned from sin every day but never turned to Jesus. Turning from sin doesn’t make you righteous, just religious, but turning to Jesus makes you the righteousness of God and opens up a whole new dimension of power and freedom to your life.
Look to Jesus!