Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you?
Paul knows for sure that God lavishly provides for his children. He is not a selfish, scrimpy provider – his provision is not “measured out” in limited, small, or short quantities. His provision is full, complete, and capable of meeting every present need, not to mention every future need.
Paul knew in his own life that provision comes by trusting, not by striving. God’s method of provision is exactly opposite of the world’s. The world would tell us that if we want something, we have to pull out all the stops to pursue it, even at the sacrifice of other things that require our attention.
God’s method is to ask us to submit to his leading and see what he will do – plain and simple. As we obediently lay down our willful pursuit of things that are fruitless in pursuit of his purposes, he provides abundant fruitful outcome. His provision is prepared before we ever need it and is revealed in the times of obedient pursuit.
So those now who live by faith are blessed along with Abraham, who lived by faith – this is no new doctrine! And that means that anyone who tries to live by his own effort, independent of God is doomed to failure.
We can never do enough to earn our salvation, a better standing with God, or a change in our character. We cannot do it fast enough - though we may try to speed up what God has begun in us, we cannot rush his perfect timing. We cannot do often enough those things that would gain us anything in the kingdom of God.
No amount of service is “just the right amount” to earn us anything in God’s economy. We cannot do “life” well enough to gain us any increase in stature. So why do we keep trying to do it alone? Paul poses the question to his readers because he knows the futility of religious pursuit.
He had obeyed the rules to the “T” – a Jew of the Jews, Pharisee of the Pharisees, circumcised on the eighth day. Yet none of his efforts in the natural sense gained him any assurance, peace, or privileged standing with God. In God's eyes, Paul, like you and I, was nothing more than a "cracked pot" - moral character full of small cracks that made walking uprightly next to impossible. It was only because of God in Paul's life that the "cracked pot" of his life had value.
Tomorrow, we will explore the futility of trying to fill in the "cracks" of our pot by ourselves.