Are you under a spell? Do you feel compelled by an outside force? Do you feel like you have to be perfect or else? Are you only happy on the days you have it all together? Do you try to look great on the outside, when you are hurting on the inside? Perhaps you have been bewitched by works.
For many people it is like an addiction to perform perfectly in life. Everything has to be just right, or it’s the end of the world. Maybe if you think you are good enough, and do enough, everything will be perfect. But that is a never ending cycle. When you are bewitched by works you are always trying to do better and be better, but you can’t. You always fail. And then when you fail, you hate yourself. This is right where the enemy wants you. The enemy is the happiest and most successful, when you are discouraged, depressed, and hating yourself.
Good works can never satisfy, because you can never be good enough on your own. You may lie to yourself and create a self righteous attitude. You may act like you have it all together, but deep down you know the truth. The truth is you are a sinful, broken person that needs help. You need grace.
Once you were born again, all your sins were forgiven. Jesus made you new, and gave you the Holy Spirit. You became a new creation. Salvation was not a reset, but a whole new life. You didn’t start over with a clean slate, Jesus created a whole new type of person in you. You can’t improve upon what Jesus has done by trying hard, or being super religious. You were saved by grace through faith, and you continue in the faith, by grace, through faith. Jesus didn’t help you enough for you to save yourself. Jesus saved you completely. Grace saves and keeps. Your works can’t save you at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end. Paul said this about works,
“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?”
Galatians 3:1-4 NKJV
These Galatians received the Holy Spirit by faith. They were saved by believing the truth of the Gospel. But they had become bewitched by the lie of performance. They were entranced by good works. It can make a prideful person feel good about themselves, to perform well. But performing well doesn’t increase you or even help you when it comes to pleasing God. Jesus gave you His righteousness as a gift. You don’t have to work for that gift. You just receive it and keep it, freely by grace. Paul continues,
“Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.”
Galatians 3:5-9 NKJV
God will work miracles in your life, but not because you keep the law. God does it because of you believing His Word. Abraham believed God and God credited it to Him as righteousness. You come to God the same way. You are blessed by God the same way also. God is not happy with you, because you are good enough. God is happy with you, because of Jesus and His works. God is pleased with you because you believe Him, and you receive the righteousness of Christ as a gift. You are justified by faith and not works. If you are in Christ, God is totally pleased with you, and nothing you can do can make Him more pleased. In the same way, nothing you do, or fail to do, can make God disappointed or angry with you, because when God sees you He sees The blood of Jesus shed for you, and His perfection lived out for you. You cannot be cursed or punished because of your failures.
“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.” Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
Galatians 3:10-14 NKJV
Don’t live under the law, because you can’t keep it. Don’t expect God to deal with you based on what you deserve. God is the God of grace, therefore He does not give you what you deserve, He gives you infinitely more than you deserve. God gives you what Jesus deserves. That is grace. God doesn’t need you to be perfect. Jesus already did that. God isn’t going to punish you for not being good enough, because Jesus was good enough in your place. You can never be made right with God by the law. But Jesus makes you right with God, through faith. Christ took all the curse you deserve. He paid for all your sins. He was the atoning sacrifice for your sins. God burned His wrath out on Jesus, so much so that He has none left for you. If you want to be Holy and right with God, just receive Jesus and His works. Don’t let religion lie to you. God doesn’t need you to climb the mountain of good works to reach Him. God came down to rescue you. So rest in His grace. Rest in the Gospel. That is refreshing.