“For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” (Romans 7:9)

You either live under law or under grace. There’s no middle ground. You can’t be half and half. You’re one or the other.

I just started teaching my fall class at Elim Bible Institute, and a good part of what I’ll be teaching is out of my book Discipleship By Grace. As we dive in to God’s grace together, I’m freshly thankful, as I hope to be every day, for the gospel that has transformed my life.

We (Isaiah Six) also just had an outstanding weekend in Akron, NY where we did an outdoor concert in the village square on a beautiful night. Several hundred came out to the event, most of whom were unchurched people. Many heard the gospel as we shared the message of grace. The response from the community was overwhelming, as someone said, “I’ve never seen our community respond so positively to a concert before, let alone a Christian concert!”

Our prayer is that revival fire will burn in the hearts of those who heard the gospel. We all want revival to sweep over our generation, but let me tell you about the revival you don’t want. Romans 7:9 says, “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.”

Paul here is talking about what happened when he moved from grace to law. His sin nature revived. That, my friends, is a revival you don’t want to have!

When we place ourselves “under law” and try to earn God’s love and acceptance, or try to defeat our weaknesses and sins, through our performance, it actually has the opposite effect that you might think it would. One might think that more works, more pursuit of holy behavior, and more effort would result in more victory. On the contrary, it actually revives the sin nature, and results in more defeat. Why? Because when you trust in your own strength, you reject the strength of the Holy Spirit, only available through trusting in the work of the cross. You literally reject grace, and all its benefits. That’s why Paul said to the Galatians, who were seeking to be justified by law, “Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all” (Galatians 5:2).

This is also why Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel–not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power” (1 Corinthians 1:17).

We literally empty the cross of its power in our lives when we depend on human wisdom and not the gospel of grace.

My prayer for every reader is that we would all know the victory that we have in Christ Jesus! Are you experiencing the revival you don’t want? Put your hope in Christ and His grace today by believing in the finished work of the cross. Then “sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14).

To order Derek’s new book Discipleship By Grace, visit www.amanirecords.com/shop.

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