The Apostle Paul, who spent the first part of his life defending Jewish law, was sent by God to preach the Gospel to Gentiles in the Roman Empire. The message he shared was clear — if you have enough faith to believe that Jesus died for your sins, you will be saved. He didn’t introduce a long list of regulations by which we inherit salvation, he asserted that trust in God’s power alone can make people righteous in His sight. Things like dietary restrictions, Sabbath laws, and circumcision were not a prerequisite to salvation any more than wages are a gift to someone who works for them. Faith is the sole requirement for becoming a member of God’s family, because it’s the force that makes His gift free. To add anything more distorts the power of the Gospel, yet that’s exactly what some Orthodox Jewish believers were doing in the first century (and what many are still doing today). While new Gentile converts were living their lives in liberty, religious Jews were showing up to inform them that they needed to adopt certain laws in order to be truly saved. Rightfully, this angered Paul, and the theme we see again and again in his letters is that faith in God’s grace is enough to both justify and empower Christians to live a productive life in His Kingdom.
Friend, you can cease striving and rest in the sufficiency of Christ’s unmerited favor, which comes to you by faith. The mandate to perform to meet the standards of your Maker was nailed to the cross when He died, and unconditional love was offered to you in its place when He arose. While it’s tempting to keep trying to earn your way to acceptance with Him and with your fellow believers, there is no need. You are redeemed, and Jesus cherishes you just the way you are. Rest in that truth and you will enjoy a fruitful and abundant life in His righteousness!