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These thoughts and motives of our hearts need the transforming power of the Holy Spirit; we cannot just change them ourselves by willpower.
Part of faith, then, is trusting God to do his transforming work in us.
Christians are called to be free, but Paul cautions: "Do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love" (Galatians ).
With freedom comes obligations, or else one person’s "freedom" would infringe on another’s.
It is God who works in us, both to will and to behave according to his good purpose (Philippians ). We repent and look to God’s grace for forgiveness, in full confidence that it is available for us.
Restrictive rules appeal to many well-meaning people (Colossians ).The church is a hospital for reform, not a "safe zone" for social parasites to practice.Paul told the Corinthian Christians to discipline an incestuous man (1 Corinthians 5:1-5), and he also encouraged them to forgive someone after he had repented (2 Corinthians 2:5-8).Christians are not under the Law of Moses, and we cannot be saved by any law, even the commandments of the New Testament. One of the last things that Jesus told his disciples to do was to teach people "to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matthew ). God is our God, our priority in everything, and he has something to say about the way we live.
Perfect obedience is not the goal of the Christian life; the goal of the Christian life is to belong to God.