“Did you receive the [Holy] Spirit as the result of obeying the Law and doing its works, or was it by hearing [the message of the Gospel] and believing [it]? [Was it from observing a law of rituals or from a message of faith?] Are you so foolish…? Having begun [your new life spiritually] with the [Holy] Spirit, are you now reaching perfection [by dependence] on the flesh?”
– Galatians 3:2-3
The purpose of the Law in the Old Testament was not just to be a list of “Dos” and “Don’ts”…It goes much deeper than that. God’s intention in giving the Law was to expose mankind’s sinfulness, so that in turn, we would rely on faith in Him to escape from that sinfulness. Abraham was called righteous solely because of his faith in God, before the Law was ever given (Genesis 15:6). So if God says that having faith is righteousness, what does that say about our actions? They do not equate to righteousness. True faith, however, does result in our taking action, because if we truly believe the Word, we will be deeply compelled to act upon it. James 2:26 says, “…faith without works is dead.” So faith that isn’t followed by actions is either very weak or non-existent. We shouldn’t just have a relationship with God and be blessed by Him without that blessing eventually overflowing onto and affecting others. The Biblical metaphor of us “bearing fruit” is pretty helpful if you think it through: our faith is the tree and the roots, our actions are the fruit. The tree isn’t “trying” to make fruit, it just happens. It’s effortless. Fruit grows because the tree is rooted in good ground. Likewise, we will develop godly actions the more we root ourselves in faith and the Word.
Based on this concept, any sinfulness in our lives is a direct result of a lack of faith in that area, or as the Amplified puts it, a lack of complete trust in and reliance on Jesus Christ for what we need or desire. It’s like in Mark 11 when Jesus cursed the fig tree. It’s as if that fig tree had no faith and was trying to trick Jesus, saying, “Look at me, Jesus! I’m all healthy and leafy green!” But Jesus saw right through that fig tree’s facade and said, “You ain’t got no fruit!” BAM! Dead tree. That’s like us when we focus only on our “good deeds.” We lack faith and any real fruit, which is the opposite of the Word! Don’t be like that! Have faith and focus on your relationship with God. Then your actions will follow.
Pursue your purpose in Him,