So many people see there are two ways to go through life: the moral way or the amoral way, the religious way or the pagan way. You are either a pious prude who has no fun and then self-righteously judge others who aren’t like you; or you live it up in debauchery, scoffing at the things religion says. However, Christianity (aside from what many think) is totally different. Catholicism is not any different, but true, God wrought, historic Christianity is totally different.
Religion (moralism) says, “Obey this law, do this good deed, fulfill your moral obligation, and you will obtain, as a result, a good outcome. If you don’t fulfill your moral obligation, you will get a bad outcome, and you must work your way back up with good moral deeds.” This is a very defeating thing for the human soul though because what is it that happens when a person tries with all his might to fulfill the law or his moral obligations? He fails over and over and eventually either gives up or is totally miserable trying over and over again to succeed, of his own strength. This is moralism.
Christianity, however, is totally backward from this thinking. Christianity says, “God demands absolute moral perfection. However, we cannot fulfill the law of God perfectly, and even if we try our hardest, we fall infinitely short of what is required of us. If we break even one law of God over the course of our lives, we have broken the whole law, because even one offense is a trampling on the glory of God. And all of us have broken at least one law over the course of our lives, actually thousands of times over. Therefore, by man’s own efforts and strength, he cannot fulfill the law of God and is therefore hopeless in himself to save himself from his plight in sin. But we already have the outcome in Christ alone! He fulfilled the law of God perfectly, without blemish. He did what we could not, fulfilled the moral obligation we could never live up to. He then offered Himself willingly as a sacrifice of atonement for sin, to turn away the wrath of God. He then died and rose from the grave, ascended into heaven, that anyone who places their faith in His finished work on the cross will be saved.”
So what does this tell us? We are morally unable to fulfill the law of God, but if we believe in Christ’s finished work on the cross, there is now no more need to work on your own strength to do something you’re already unable to do. Once you believe in Him, He then sends you the gift of His Holy Spirit that changes your desires to freely obey Him, and the law then turns from duty to delight. In Christ, because He has fulfilled the law from our side, there is no longer anything more we have to do! In Christ, we are done with trying to please the Father anymore than Christ Himself has pleased Him through His life and then death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. What a lovely Savior and what a great and wonderful God, that He would provide such a wonderful gift of salvation to rescue us from our self-righteous religious works that will only lead us to death!