Copyright 2006 Roger and Eileen Himes
Jesus talks a lot about overcoming in life. This side of the cross, we are told that we overcome by receiving from God. The New Testament talks a lot about receiving from God. The Old Testament was just the opposite. It was one of giving to God: obedience by keeping the law, and by repentance, and by sacrifice and offerings. But in the New Testament things changed. As Paul says all things became new (II Cor 5:17).
The Old testament talked a lot about coming into atonement, or right standing with God. In fact, page after page after page in the Old Testament describes this process mainly by means of sacrifice and offerings. The Apostle Paul only mentions the atonement one time in all of his writings (and he wrote over half the New Testament). He writes: You have now RECEIVED the atonement (Rom 5:11).
A few verses later he writes, Much more they who RECEIVE abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ (Rom 5:17). Paul says if we will just receive from God (1) his grace, and (2) his gift of righteousness then we will reign with Christ.
Its very hard for human beings to receive. Our inclination is to give to God. We think its our behavior, performance, and obedience that God wants. Naturally, God doesnt want people running around doing bad things. But he knows that correct belief is much more important than good behavior. Correct belief will eventually produce good behavior, but good behavior will never produce correct belief.
God wants us to simply learn to receive from him. He know his principle far better than we ever will: As you sow, so shall you reap (Gal 6:7). When we receive Gods good gospel seed into us, then this seed produces good roots. Jesus says two different times, No good root produces bad fruit. Its actually the oldest truth in the Bible. Genesis 1 talks about seed producing after its own kind.
God knows you cant grow apples by planting pumpkin seeds. To grow apples you have to plant apple seeds. Its a very simple truth.
When we allow God to sow his good gospel seed into us, then he knows good things will come out of us. Paul says its the gospel that brings forth good fruit from us (Col 1:5-6). Take time to really let the good seed of the gospel into your life all of Gods love, peace, joy, righteousness, goodness, and everything else good. Then watch the good fruit come forth from you. This is allowing God to complete the good work he has begun in you (Phil 1:6).