…all of us…start out in identical conditions,…we all start out as sinners….” (Romans 3:9 MSG).

There are “two basic ways people try to find happiness and fulfillment: the way of moral conformity and the way of self-discovery” Timothy Keller (ref#123, p29). Every way the human race tries to connect with GOD is wrong—“the irreligious and the religious are spiritually lost” (ref#123, p10-11).

There is a definite distinction between the Gospel and moral conformity (ref#123, p69), but I grew old unaware of the difference. I was certain I knew “the unique, radical nature of the gospel” (ref#123, page xi). Reading Scripture daily and attending church weekly, how could I miss it? I did.

While doing what I thought was an excellent job of following commandments, I was “anxious, insecure, joyless, and angry” most of the time (ref#123, p70). I had no concept of CHRIST’s love so I needed the approval of others to increase my self-worth (ref#123, p63-64). It rarely happened. Conforming morally yielded no trust in CHRIST or love for Him. I viewed Him as someone who wanted me to do impossible things.

I pursued CHRIST by attempting to live morally, but then, at His FATHER’s appointed time, He pursued me. CHRIST became personal. As the SPIRIT opened the spiritual world, CHRIST no longer was just a name I found in the Bible. Moral conformity gave way to the Gospel for one reason—CHRIST overwhelmed me with His “lavish affection” (ref#123, p74).

I began comprehending the magnitude of His love for me. To my utter amazement CHRIST was not interested in my over-the-years good deeds but simply took me and covered me in His robes (ref#123, p23). He cared nothing about the good I did or even the good I didn’t do. He used His power to serve me not to demand from me.

He gave His life and now lives again to intervene for me. He stands ready to direct me every minute of every day! He is the SON of GOD but also He is the SON of Man. How much more satisfying it is being with Another—interacting with CHRIST—than struggling alone attempting to follow rules. Now, as I talk with Him I experience wonder and delight. By impulse I speak to Him, as I would a lover, all the things I find beautiful about Him (ref#123, p64).

Unless you are as steeped in command-following as I, you will never know the joy I now experience being with Him and setting my mind on ways to express His beauty instead of attempting to be righteous. Now I understand the Gospel is not trying to obey rules, it’s accepting, then gladly submitting to the love JESUS CHRIST offers.