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A Law to Themselves

February 8, 2020


A Law to Themselves

Many think  that they have the ability  to become a Christian  whenever they want.      They might say  when they get a bit older,  they will turn their life  over to Christ.      Or,  they might decide  it’s about time  they turned over a new leaf right now  and start doing  all the things Christians do,  like attending church,  giving offerings,  praying,  taking part in church activities,  etc.

As changed as they  try to appear,  all this Christian stuff  is a real burden.      It’s a duty  with the pressures  of trying to do everything rightly,  in order to  be a good Christian.      What’s wrong?      After all,  they “became” a Christian,  and they’re trying  their very best.

The problem is  that they are depending  on their own efforts.      They imagine  that they have the power  to turn their lives  over to God  whenever they choose.      They feel  that everyone  has a free will  to choose  to believe  in God.      But,  God’s word  shows us  a deeper depravity  in our natures.      In Romans 2:14-16,  Paul describes  all unbelievers (Gentiles),

For when  Gentiles who do not have the Law  do instinctively  the things of the Law,  these,  not having the Law,  are a law  to themselves,  in that  they show the work  of the Law  written in their hearts,  their conscience  bearing witness,  and their thoughts  alternately accusing  or else defending them…

We all have a conscience  that guides us,  so we instinctively know  what is good and bad.      We can all  be a law  to ourselves  and make ourselves  do what is right.      That can include  going to church  and singing in the choir.      But,  obeying the law outwardly  has nothing to do  with having a saving faith  in the righteousness  of Jesus Christ.      Even heathens  know how to be good.      But that  won’t get them  to heaven.      Paul tells us  in Romans 8:7,

The mind set on the flesh  is hostile  toward God;  for it does not subject itself  to the law  of God,  for it is  not even able  to do so.

We are all  of the  flesh  and have that feeling  of wanting  to be independent  and able  to make up our own minds.      So,  when it comes to honestly  turning our lives  over to God,  we find  that we are  “not even able to do so.”      Try as we might,  deep down inside,  we don’t really want to  spiritually subject ourselves  to God.      We cannot convert ourselves.      We are dead  in our sinful natures,  even though  we can talk about God  and do good works.

So,  how can we become  a true Christian  in God’s eyes?      Romans 10:17 says,

So faith  comes from hearing,  and hearing  by the word  of Christ.

And then,  in Galatians 3:2,  Paul asks,

This is the only thing  I want to find out  from you:  did you receive  the Spirit by the works  of the Law,  or by hearing  with faith?

Considering many such passages  we learn  that faith comes  from hearing the word of Christ — and that  we will receive the Spirit  by hearing with faith.      So,  should we  just determine  by our wills  to start reading God’s word  and believing it?      We can’t do it.      It just doesn’t work that way.      In Ephesians 2:8-9, Paul says,

For by grace  you have been saved  through faith;  and that not of yourselves,  it is the gift  of God;  not  as a result of works,  that no one  should boast.

From beginning to end,  a real faith  is  the gift of God.      We have a worldly  free will  to reject God’s word.      But,  we do not have  an honest free will  to determine  when we will accept  God’s word  by faith.      As we hear  God’s word,  God Himself will work  in our hearts  the gift of faith.      We are helpless  and dead  in sin,  but God  can make us  spiritually alive  with faith,  as we hear His word.      Romans 11:36 declares,

For from Him  and through Him  and to Him  are all things.      To Him  be the glory  forever.      Amen.

As we hear God’s word,  we say,  “Hallelujah!      Lord,  create in us  clean hearts  and right spirits  to Your glory.”




A Christian devotional to glorify the LORD of lords and God of gods


see the calendar in the right hand column

for past devotional posts.


Pray for our country.


This is the day which the LORD has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24


The word of the LORD is tried;
He is a shield  to all  who take refuge  in Him.
Psalm 18:30


Sing for joy in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;
Praise is becoming  to the upright.
Psalm 33:1


How blessed are those  who dwell in Thy house!
They are ever praising Thee.
Psalm 84:4


Just as a father has compassion  on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
Psalm 103:13


Oh give thanks to the LORD,  for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Psalm 107:1


Glory in His holy name;
Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.
Psalm 105:3


Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that
I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12






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