Most people generally live by some kind of moral code regardless of its believed origin. Most of the time Christians are also striving to do what they believe to be good and to not do that which they believe to be bad. The only difference between most Christians in this respect and non-Christians is that they claim to know Jesus and have His help in managing their behavior.
On the face of it, Christians are still striving to do the right thing even if it is done with the help of God. In addition, believers often live in the place of having an increased list of what is right and of what is forbidden and sinful. Just the same, the evidence will usually show that the Christian is not achieving the doing of good things in any different strength than anyone else.
As long as Christians try to do what is right the effort is, in essence, trying in the same way anyone else is trying. God then becomes more of a motivational reason to do right rather than being one who has made a difference in a person’s ability to do what is right.
However, what is happening is the person who knows Jesus is still living in the same construct they were living in before they knew Jesus. This is the construct of laws. It is said that believers are no longer under the law, but they live as if it really is all about behaving rightly by following laws. Some of those laws are truly good things like loving your neighbor as yourself. Laws, though, are not for those born of God but are a temporary aide to point to the need for a new nature in God.
Jesus Fulfilled the Need of the Law
The law was apportioned to unbelievers to point to Him who is the fulfillment of the requirements of the law. He removes their bondage to laws and gives the freedom to live and have “our being” freely in Him. Believers begin to do right because He has made them right not because they follow laws that tell them what is right. If you are full of Him and He is fully righteous, you are also fully righteous and do fully righteous things.
At the moment one’s life is given to Jesus, he or she is reborn as a son or daughter of God. Our nature is no longer the nature that did not know God and needed to strive to follow rules for our good. Our nature now bears a new identity as having His nature birthed on the inside. The only “work” of a Christian is to rest in that new identity. It is about being who we are in Christ. It’s about realignment with His nature on the outside that has already occurred on the inside.
“Good works” are produced because there is a good being, and not because one strives to live according to a good versus bad dichotomy. A good tree bears good fruit. If we have the nature of God on the inside we will exemplify that reality on the outside naturally with ease. This is why Scriptures says that people will know those who are in Christ by their love. If Christ’s love is inside it will overflow and be seen on the outside in such measure that it is obvious God is in that person’s life.
Yet Christians live like they still have to try by their own efforts to behave in a pleasing way to God. In reality, you please God when you wake up in the morning before you have done anything at all because you are His beloved children already.
The Christian life is inherently supernatural
If you are not supernaturally reborn as a son or daughter of God you cannot do anything more than strive to be good by following rules no matter how noble you think those rules and traditions to be.
Anyone who has asked Jesus to live in them has truly received the life of Christ and the ability to live in such a manner. But just like a natural baby needs to learn how to live the human life, so does a supernatural baby need to learn to live the supernatural life. However, the learning process is in discovering who He is so that you discover who you are thereby being the fullness of who you are.