We live by God’s Power – not man’s power.
There are many who are still trying to earn God’s love and approval through their own efforts. By their own feeble power! Consciously or subconsciously they say, “If only I could pray enough devotions, or do enough good works, or make myself pure by sheer willpower – then God will love me and accept me.”
St. Paul calls this “living under condemnation”, because we can never perfectly keep the law. We are destined to fail and then we are thrown into despair, and feel condemned.
But the Good News is that we don’t have to earn God’s love and approval! Christ Crucified did that for us on the Cross! It is ours – freely given.
We could never earn it or be worthy of it – it is an unmerited gift of love from the Crucified One. We just need to accept it in faith! This is the heart of the Gospel and so many have never really received it. We are not to live under condemnation any longer. Yes, we still do good works, pray devotions, keep the commandments and avoid evil. Only now we are not trying to earn God’s love – we’ve already got it. Now were just returning love for love. He loved us first (even while were his enemies in sin), He saved us and set us free.
And now we love him back through these things, through prayer, good works, and holy lives.
Although we cannot merit this gift of justification, we can merit an increase in grace and holiness. The more we love him, the more fully we respond to his unmerited love, the more he pours love and grace into our lives! This draws us ever closer to him.
Salvation is not achieved through secret knowledge or earned by our own efforts. Mere human wisdom and power are not tickets into heaven, for salvation is not restricted to intellectuals, the extraordinarily gifted, or any elite group. It is open to everyone who puts their faith and trust in Christ crucified.
Thus St. Paul goes on to say: “Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God.” (1 Cor 1:26-29)
Not only that, but God delights in using the weak, foolish and lowly of the world precisely “to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Cor 4:7). If we are weak, we are uniquely qualified for this spirituality and mission!