Thursday, June 29, 2017
Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace. But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love. Galatians 5:2-6(NLT)
The Christ-followers of Galatia had made an error that traps so many believers; they started their journey with Jesus by grace, in faith, trusting God for their forgiveness. However, somewhere along the way they slipped into taking credit for their own salvation. They began to believe that, by being good, they were keeping themselves saved. Paul said it very clearly…they were thinking that all their good deeds, and their kind, unselfish, even Godly sacrifices were good enough to replace grace; they had actually moved away from trusting God by faith and fallen away from God’s grace!
The Galatian believers had crossed a vital line of understanding that God’s grace stands alone; when God forgives, He does not need any help!
Now that being said, our good deeds, clean living, and kind interaction with others is not valueless; in fact, just the opposite is true. God actually demands that we work on that holy lifestyle. We just cannot forget our self-righteousness cannot replace God’s grace.
By the way, this has nothing to do with eternal security – you know – that argument about whether you can lose your salvation or not. Rather, this is a reminder that coming to faith in Jesus Christ is a matter of accepting God’s forgiveness, not earning it!
And the offer is eternal; grace has no expiration date. When we begin the life in Christ by faith, it is just that – a beginning. From there we continue in faith, growing into the likeness of Jesus. To somehow change the equation that, although we were saved by the blood of Christ, the gift of God’s grace…but now we are enlightened, and sin is merely our history, and we are good enough to somehow be above grace – this is the opposite of a disciple’s heart, and more like what Satan thinks.
Grace is the dividing line between Heaven and Hell. Drawing that line is way above my pay grade. Let’s let today be governed by grace…believe, receive and walk in it again:
Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount out-poured, there where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.
Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that is greater than all our sin![ii]
[ii] Grace Greater than Our Sin, Words Julia H. Johnston, Music Daniel B. Towner