I started the year reading A Hole in our Holiness by Kevin deYoung. Not only because it’s a resource from Alistair Begg, whose recommendations I respect, but because my word for the year was Abide. I wanted to strive towards holiness, and to that end, needed to draw close to God in order to know his commands and how to keep them. “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” -John 15:4
It is possible to please God.
Christ is our model for holiness.
Yes, we were saved by faith, but there should be evidence in the form of good works that grace has flowed into us – not that we are saved by good works, but you can’t have one without the other.
These are some of the points he makes in his book. Then I got to one part that really struck me because I happened to be in a Life of Moses study, on how law leads to grace, as well as grace leads to law. Law leads to grace: when God gives us law and we can’t keep it in order that we might find grace. “He gives us more grace.” -James 4:6 Vice versa, grace leads to law: His rules are a gift to us, that we might know how to please God.
The thing is, I love my dad and he loves me very much. But in his love there’s not been much of rules. To his credit, I was a good kid and he probably never felt like he needed to give me many rules. But rules are necessary in any relationship – that’s how you know where you stand. “The one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” -Proverbs 13:24 Capricious discipline doesn’t work; how can a kid know what to do when one thing is right in one situation and wrong in another depending on how you feel? A genial, avuncular parenting style does a child no favors, either.
That’s why it’s a grace that God gave us Law. So we might know what pleases Him — and do it! We find freedom, “Christians should display a consistent pattern of obedience, along with a quick habit of going to God for cleansing when they are disobedient” (76).
The gospel is one simple choice: either you are humble enough to accept that you need God, or you aren’t. You have to be humble enough to accept by faith, Jesus Christ’s work on the cross, and his rising from the dead, no matter what you, or anyone says you’ve done or how you feel. For me, “Without faith it’s impossible to please God” has never carried more weight than in this context.
That’s why the end is not the out. It’s not over until He says it’s over. Don’t give up.