Many people think that because Jesus paid for our sins, we can relax and just live as we please. He’s a forgiving God, right?

Not so fast.

Even a casual reading of the Bible will tell us that God cares, and cares very much, about how we live. Christ’s death puts us in right standing with God, but if we have any concept of what it cost God to pay our debt, we would hardly live to further indulge that which separated us from Him in the first place.

In Galatians, Paul lays it out pretty plain: God’s moral law delineates simple, unselfish living: love God, and love your neighbour as yourself. But when we try to do this, we often fail; there is sort of a moral gravity that pulls us towards selfish thoughts and actions, and even though we know better, we break this law. Our inability shows us our need for an intervention.

Our failure to be perfectly moral serves now as our “schoolmaster to bring us to Christ”; it is only by knowledge of our moral imperfection that we realize our need of God’s grace.

The gospel tells us we don’t try to earn our way into God’s good books by keeping the rules but by admitting our need. We have to trust Him and His provision. And if we hope for forgiveness we must bear in mind that codes and creeds don’t forgive, but persons: and we are dealing with a real Person, not just a religion. And that relation will change us from the inside out.

Anyone who thinks they can now live without care for their own behaviour simply shows they neither understand nor appreciate the Grace that is offered them; it’s only the heart that weeps for its own spiritual poverty that stands ready to accept forgiveness.

God will always care very much about how we live. If we are really His, our lives will reflect it, dead to our old selfish ways and following Him not because we’re being forced to, but out of humble gratitude for the work done on our behalf.