It would change everything if we could just get our hearts around it. God has no interest in you promising him anything. He has even less interest in you proving anything to him. Every effort you will give worth anything will happen directly after you choose to apply the power of what happened at the cross and resurrection of Jesus to your circumstance. We don’t know how to say it more passionately: nothing gets redeemed without dependence upon redemption. Whatever needs redemption, healing, freedom, power, life reconciliation, depends fully upon trust in an event intended to be applied over every need. It means that I take my failure, or failure done to me, or that which will not be fixed by any other means directly back to the resurrection of Christ. There is an astounding power there. I find myself saying something like, “Father, what Jesus did there for me, I am trusting in it right here, right now, to make me clean, to restore my heart, to restore my hope.” It is trusting in a payment that was made long ago to make right what can only be made right by payment. I will never have the resources to pay myself for anything that happens to me.
Any other plan - severity, beating yourself up, proving yourself, providing enough amends, all of it-is just man-made superstitious religion. This reformation of grace is a radical new way of living. It is learning to count upon a past event in the moment of need. It is learning to count yourself as completely changed into righteousness by that historic event, not needing to change yourself into worthiness.
It sounds like it’s too good to be true, or too little power to avail. But it is the only power strong enough. What we’ve been trying hasn’t worked, or our conscience and heart would tell us so. It didn’t work for Adam and Eve. They covered themselves and still felt the need to hide. It doesn’t work for you and I. We try to cover ourselves with our best attempts to assuage shame and we still feel the need to hide.
The day of religious posturing, bluffing and hiding to attempt to vindicate a righteousness we don’t believe we possess…it must now end. Or we will heap another worst day upon the one that has already found us.