“For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless…” (Romans 4:14)
Because I write so extensively about grace and trusting in Jesus’ provision of a right-standing with God by stressing that our behavior has nothing to do with this standing. I get many emails reminding me of the importance of living well (i.e., following rules, the law, or the 10 Commandments, or the rules we make up as Christians).
Sometimes, I feel this makes people uncomfortable as they think that I am saying, we can live however we want, steeped in sin, and it doesn’t matter.
No, it does matter for many reasons (many of which Paul will get to in Chapter 6). However, nothing—again I say, nothing—nullifies the grace of God faster than believing that we somehow can sway God’s opinion of us by our behavior.
I lived for years trying to do the right things, but in the back of my mind, I always thought that God was just waiting for me to mess up. I fully believed I was saved by grace, but that is where it ended. After that starting point, it was up to me to be good, do good, and not mess up.
This mentality kept me sin-conscience and afraid of God. As Paul observes, living this way made God’s promise of grace worthless in my life.