In the Old Testament there were over six hundred religious laws. And every time someone failed to keep one, they had to offer an animal sacrifice as atonement. This resulted in people trying and failing; feeling guilty and trying harder; failing again and making more sacrifices. It was a never-ending cycle. Then Jesus came and opened up ‘a new and living way…for us’ to have a relationship with God. His way included forgiveness for sin, and the replacement of sacrifices with faith in Him. For many it was just too good to be true, so they kept working and trying to impress God with their goodness. We can find ourselves doing that too. One Christian author writes: ‘I lived that way for years. It meant having to do everything perfectly; otherwise I was in trouble with God. Since this was an impossible standard to keep, it stole all my peace and joy. While I was trying to walk in love, I wasn’t a very loving person. I couldn’t give others what I didn’t know how to receive myself! I wasn’t receiving God’s mercy for my failures; therefore I couldn’t offer it to anybody else. I tried to follow all the rules, many that weren’t even scriptural – just things to feel guilty about. But thank God I don’t have to live that way anymore. Now I’m not working to be saved, I’m working because I am saved! My salvation isn’t based on what I do, but solely on what Jesus has done for me.’ When we understand that we’ve been saved by God’s grace, our relationship with Him is no longer about us being perfect, and instead becomes about His perfect love.
Spend time praising God for the ‘new and living way’ that Jesus has provided. Thank Him that you don’t have to try and impress Him to have a relationship with Him.