The law wages a constant battle to push the gospel out of our hearts, to dethrone God’s grace in our lives, to rule over us in savage dominance.
These battles impact every Christian. Every day.
They are often subtle battles. We can lose them without realizing a conflict had taken place.
Paul had a fearsome warning for the Galatians about losing this battle, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all” (Galatians 1:6,7).
Where is your faith?
Paul David Tripp also has helpful warnings for us:
There is no place for Christ in many people’s Christianity.
Their faith is not actually in Christ; it is in Christianity and their own ability to live it out.
When the law pushes Jesus out
This kind of “Christianity” is about the shadow glories of human knowledge and performance. It does not require the death of self that must always happen if love for Christ is going to reign in our hearts.
When Christ isn’t central in the life of a Christian, his Christianity will always get reduced to theology and rules. It will cease to be the central organizing principle of his life. It will give way to other powerful motivations and move to the fringes of his life.
I think this is the experience of many Christians. Their Christianity is missing Christ! It then becomes little more than an ideology with an accompanying set of ethics.
What is incredibly dangerous about this is that if Christ isn’t central in our hearts, something else will be. Christianity as theology and rules will allow self to be at the center.
Only a relationship with Jesus gives victory
It is only Christ who can free you and me from bondage to the little kingdom. Christianity gutted of Christ is devoid of both its beauty and its power. Only love for Christ has the power to incapacitate the sturdy love for self that is the bane of every sinner, and only the grace of Christ has the power to produce that love.
Source: Paul David Tripp, from Heart of the Matter: Daily Reflections for Changing Hearts and Lives