I had been trying to wrap my head around the finished work of Jesus and the grace of God. The fact that nothing I do can increase or decrease what was already done was hard to comprehend. Like so many Christians, I believed that if I did good things, good things would come, and if I did bad things... well, you reap what you sow. So, I made myself busy with doing good things and slipped into the "Believer's Rut", which is based on works and not on grace.
Don't get me wrong, we are supposed to do good things because we are God's children and imitators of our Father. Our good deeds should be the result of the Spirit of God residing in and flowing out of us, rather than from our efforts of trying to be good. We are good; Jesus said so in John 15: 3. He said we are all clean because of the Word. He said,"I am the true Vine, and My father is the Vine dresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit." It is not possible for a pine tree to produce an Oak tree, so the fruit the Spirit of God produces in us is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the tree is the evidence of the type of tree. As for the perfecting part...that's the Holy Spirit's job not mine
I still could not get the idea that I did not have to do anything to earn my salvation except believe and receive it. Romans 10: 9-10 says we are believe in our heart and confess with our mouth, the Lord Jesus and we shall be saved. Some how we got the idea that we must confess our sins, but what Paul was saying is to agree with God; confess that Jesus is the Son of God and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead and you will be saved. It's as simple as that!
I was born into a military family and then I married a career military man. Father used my life as the 'dependent' of a military person to teach me about the finished work of Jesus. I came to realize that all of the benefits I enjoyed as a part of the military community were directly the result of someone else's commitment. Some one else joined the military and suffered the pain of completing the requirements necessary to be fully qualified and authorized to represent the US Armed Forces.
That person also paid the price for me to have access to the benefits of that commitment and accomplishment. The housing, the medical care, the commissary grocery store, the movie theater, all of the recreational facilities, even finances...everything came to me because someone was my sponsor. That is a term used in the military when some one wants to know if you have the right to receive the benefits you are seeking. They want to know who your sponsor is, what is the social security number of that sponsor, and do you have a military ID card to prove your claim. Without a sponsor, you have no access to the benefits.
In that community, nothing I accomplish means anything to the powers that be, because I am not the one who made the commitment to serve. I am a dependent of that one. So, I can not earn or work for or pay for the privileges, I can only receive what has been provided because of the price someone else paid when they made the commitment. The sponsor stands between you and the authorities of the military. What ever you do right or wrong is a direct reflection on the sponsor. If you get into trouble, the sponsor will generally have to pay the penalty for it. If you write a bad check, the sponsor gets called into the commanding officer's office to be reprimanded and/or disciplined. How wonderful is the love of the Father, that He would pay so dear a price for me!
For those who think I may have made this a bit too simple I say what the word says. There is an ongoing work of sanctification and consecration, but that is not my task to perform. My job is to yield to the Holy Spirit, cooperate with Him and He will perfect the work. I just need to be obedient. That is the work I must do to prove my faith.