“… Because as He is, so are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17)
When we grow weary trying to meet the expectations of human beings, we declare that they’ll just have to accept us “the way we are.” We make the fateful decision to “be who we are.” We then start living to please ourselves instead of someone else, and call this our “liberation.”
What people require of us can become an oppressive yoke. But the demand of God is much higher than the demand of men. Who He wants us to be is far, far out of our reach. Through our own efforts we will never be “good enough” for Him. But because His standard is so high, He doesn’t tell us He accepts us as we are, and has no standard of His own for us to keep. Being delivered from the law does not mean that God no longer wants anything from us, and being under grace does not mean we are free to be and do anything we wish.
The gospel is God’s remedy for man’s impotency. God cannot and will not affirm the natural man. He does not accept us as we are. He receives us to put our old man to death and to resurrect us as new creatures who now can meet His expectations. The standard for the new man is greater than the standard laid out in the law; it is the standard of the Son of God Himself. Apart from Him we are impotent, we can do nothing. But through Him who strengthens us we can do all things. We can walk worthy of God unto all pleasing. We can walk even as Christ walked, and hear God say, “This is My beloved, in whom I am well pleased!” Our liberation is not an entrance into being “who we are;” it is the power and freedom to be “as He is” in the world.