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Stop trying to earn your way into heaven. You were never meant to.

First things first, there is nothing that you can do, on your own power, to be saved and worthy of entering into an eternal life with Christ. There's no amount of money you can earn, no treasure to store up, no amount of weight to be lifted, friends made, or promotions earned so that you can do it.

It isn't part of His design and it never was.

Somewhere down the road we got caught up in self-righteousness and self-power. Maybe it was the American Dream mentality of "WE can do anything". Or maybe it was the facade that Christians have been putting on for generations, desperately hoping that their fellow church attendee would believe that they have achieved holiness. One way or another, we got here.

There are so many people on the edge of believing in Christ but they see a bunch of His followers speaking only about what "they" have done. What is attractive about that? Why commit your very life to the works that others have made sure you can't possibly measure up to? Someone who isn't yet sure if they are worthy of giving their life to Christ isn't going to start thinking they are when they haven't achieved as many "good works" as the next guy.

Take the flip side. Maybe they bite and they want in anyway. 5 years a Christian and they still feel unworthy, after all there, is so much more to do and they're still having trouble following all 600+ laws each and every day. Or maybe you did give your life to Christ by faith in Him but now you are still getting trapped in the loop of trying to perfect yourself by works.

Galatians 2-3 tells us a different story though.

In Galatians 3:2-3, Paul asks his friends in the church of Galatia if they had received the Spirit through works or through faith. Take a second to go back to Chapter 2 verses 16-21. Paul is explaining to these same friends that they are justified by faith and not works. That they are made new by faith and you've probably heard this one:

...and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me

Galatians 2:20

You can faithfully accept that Jesus died for you and rose again so that you could have life with Him but you cannot "work" so well that the Spirit is then awarded to you. So Paul asks in 3:3, if after beginning your walk and receiving the Spirit though faith, why do you think that you are going to be made complete in the flesh. Or in other words, why start off in faith and then try to perfect your faith with works?

Our own works out of our human flesh cannot improve upon the merciful, renewing power that God eagerly awaits to confirm in you. His plan is better. You are not able in your own power to bridge the gap between you and Him. And that is totally okay, here's why:

Jesus was that bridge. He filled the gap between keeping the whole Law and eternal life with God. For some of you this is enough to keep you going but others have a hard time with applying what "He filled the gap" means. If this applies to you, the next few bits are for you.

In the fall of man, Adam and Eve times, we were given no laws and we were with God in His presence. The only caveat to this was God said not to eat of a certain tree. As you probably know, they ended up eating from this tree anyway and God found this to be sinful. The root of the problem wasn't that we couldn't follow this rule because there was just something innate about us that made this one rule impossible to follow. No, God had given Adam and Eve everything that they needed in abundance, and he gave them a single command. Now think about the 600 rules in the OT and reduce that down to 1 and that suddenly seems like we could actually keep that one rule for our entire life. As simple as that sounds they still couldn't do it, they still couldn't follow just a single command while everything they ever needed was provided to them in other ways.

The problem is the fallen-ness of our hearts. God allows us to our own desires. And unfortunately, we don't always desire Him. So the root of sin is our hearts, not necessarily our actions. This would then mean that keeping the Law isn't a means of salvation.

If actions were not the root of our sin, then actions are not the root of our salvation either

That doesn't mean though that the law is useless, after all why would God make things that work against each other? The law and God's promise are not opposites. The law reveals sin and a need for salvation. Salvation that is freely offered by our bridge, Jesus. There is a no chance that you are going to live your life free of sin and following every single possible rule of the OT. But this law, does bring light to this.

Dumb it back down to when there was only one rule with Adam and Eve; If we were given everything that we needed and no rule to not eat of the tree then what would have happened? Well our heart wouldn't be any different. We would still have times where we didn't desire Him. And if He made us so that we always had to desire Him then that wouldn't really be choice or worship would it? If our hearts would have been hard and there was nothing to show us of that then we wouldn't have had a reason to draw closer to Him.

The law shows us this. It says 'look there is no way that you on your own are going to get right with God through this, you need another Way' and fortunately, Jesus is the Way. Jesus paid the price of our sin which was death (Romans 6:23) but He rose again and because of Him we need only to have faith that He did this for us, rather than trying to earn our own way.

So if that is true, and you accepted Him into your life on that basis, why go back? Why go back to the ways of our flesh and labor. Your faith will produce good works but your works alone didn't earn you your faith nor salvation. But back then, truly following Christ didn't get you recognized. Being "perfect" and letting everyone know how many accomplishments in the church you had got you renown. Not a whole lot has changed 2000 years later, people are still trying to be publicly righteous, not realizing they're missing the whole thing.

So if you're a follower of Christ, let the people around you know that works didn't make you whole. Be vulnerable and allow your friends and family to see that you are not saving yourself on your own power but that you are renewed because of the promise and grace of Jesus. Show the world that it isn't you working but it is Christ, doing work through you.

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