The Christian Church loves to preach the Law.
It loves to give us lists, steps, and advice. @@The Church loves to preach 'do this' to a people who repeatedly fail to do it.@@ The lists and steps aren't the problem, the problem is that lists, steps, and advice at best are a temporary fix to a symptom of the real problem.
Many of our churches have embraced lists, steps, and advice as the epitome of the Christianity. They've become content with creating well-behaved constituents instead of forgiven children of God. The demands of the law take precedence, all the while grace gets nothing more than lip-service.
We say we are saved by grace alone but our conversations, our sermons, and our behavior speaks otherwise. We talk about Jesus and the Gospel, but we act as though our relationship with God depends on our ability to do the right things. A friend of mine often says, “We want to have some skin in the game.” We cling to our own works with hopes that they might provide some sort of validation or proof that God has done something in us.
When the Law is seen as terminal - all God gives us - behavior modification becomes the Savior and our own efforts and intentions become “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
Think about it, behavior modification is essential to the Christian life. If you’re an addict, you need to modify your behavior if you want to live. If you’re a bad husband, you need to modify your behavior if you want your marriage to thrive. If you spend your money carelessly, you need to modify your behavior in order to avoid from bankruptcy.
Behavior is important. Behavior modification is a practical implementation of the Law into the way we make decisions. But the Law alone won’t fix the real problem.
The Law doesn’t ultimately exist to change our behavior, although it certainly encourages changed behavior, it exists to lead us to Christ. It exists to eventually lead us to the truth that Jesus comes for the law-breakers not for the law-keepers.
The goal of the Law is repentance. When the Law does it’s work we have nowhere to turn but to the cross. The cross brings life. Jesus gives us hope when we’ve run out of places to put our hope. @@Our hope is in a one-sided rescue for hopeless sinners.@@