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Jesus and “Performance-Based” Christianity

Michael Beck Michael Beck

How is it that Old Testament saints who did not have the provisions to please God that we have in Christ had a greater zeal to keep God’s commands than the typical Christian?

“I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.” (Psalm 119:106)

“I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.” (Psalm 119:112)

How is it that there is so much defeatist talk coming from the Christian camp?

– “Well, we all sin more or less every day.”
– “None of us is perfect.”
– “We all sin, just to different degrees.”
– “I’m not into “performance-based” Christianity.”

Even David had an eye to His God who would “perform” ALL things for him.

“I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.” (Psalm 57:2)

Yet, those under the law and still “in the flesh” had to wait for a New and better covenant where they would be set free from the law of sin and death.

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (Romans 7:8)

That covenant is with us today and Paul was confident that all those who were in it had the life of God in them to “perform” His good work.

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6)

Be careful of those who are always talking of the danger of “performance based” Christianity. No, we are not saved by our works; but faith without works is dead.

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12,13)

The bottom line is this: no one as they are is good enough for God. Jesus came to deliver us from where we were, in a sinful state; not to leave us in it. No, we don’t perform to get “good enough” for God. He’s already declared that there’s nothing WE can do to get to that PLACE which is called “good enough.” But He did come up with a glorious salvation plan to put us in a PERSON who is good enough. That person is Jesus Christ and through Him we CAN keep His righteous statutes until the end.

What a performance!


Michael Beck is a pastor in New York City and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.