For most believers in Jesus Christ, our main problem is not ignorance about how we ought to live. At least, not in most issues. We understand all too well the sinfulness of sexual immorality, of coveting, of dishonesty. The problem is in our obedience. We know a great deal about how to live, but we simply do not live up to what we know.
What’s the answer?
Iain Duguid, a professor at Westminster Theological Seminary, answers it this way (in Is Jesus in the Old Testament?):
“How do we address the gap between what we know and what we do? Sermons and bible studies that focus on ‘law’ (the demands of Scripture for our obedience), no matter how accurately biblical in content, tend simply to add to the burden of guilt felt by the average Christian. A friend of mine calls these sermons ‘another brick in the backpack’—you arrive at church knowing five ways in which you are falling short of God’s standard for your life, and you leave knowing ten ways, doubly burdened.
He goes on to say:
“In my experience such teaching yields little by way of life transformation, especially in terms of the joy and peace that are supposed to mark the Christian life. Focusing on the gospel, however, has the power to change our lives at a deep level.”
That change is linked to the reality that Jesus has been perfect for you, and your holiness and righteousness and goodness are only found in Him. Our fruitfulness comes from this reality, and not toward it. May we continue to link everything to the greatest truth we will ever know!