This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? (Galatians 3:2-3)
There is something in us that wants to DO, to be a part of our own forgiveness and salvation. Isn’t this what Paul is challenging the Galatians about? Most religions are built on the idea that we must perform to pay for our sins and to earn the favor of God.
When we disobey, a promise to ourselves or to God to never do it again eases our guilt, until the next time we do it, and make the same promise. When we sin, our efforts to do better quiet our consciences. These are merely ways we try to appease God in our flesh, without His help.
Are we saved by grace yet live by the law? There are so many subtle ways it sneaks in to which we are often oblivious.
I like the words to the song “Not in Me” (“Not in Me” by The Gospel Coalition, 2013)
No list of sins I have not done,
No list of virtues I pursue,
No list of those I am not like
Can earn a place with You…
No humble dress, no fervent prayer,
No lifted hands, no tearful song,
No recitation of the truth
Can justify a single wrong…
No separation from the world,
No work I do, no gift I give
Can cleanse my conscience, cleanse my hands;
I cannot cause my soul to live.
Are any of these things wrong? No. But none of them will add one iota to earn our forgiveness, gain our salvation or solicit God’s favor.
What are you resting in today? Is it Christ’s work alone? Or are you adding your own standards of righteousness for yourself or perhaps for others?
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).
This devotional was taken from America’s Keswick’s “Real Life for Real Victory Volume 3”. If you would like to order a copy of the 365 Devotional book, please call (800) 453-7942.
Written by Diane Hunt: Diane Hunt serves on the board of America’s Keswick and is the Executive Director & CEO of Changed Choices, a Christian non-profit in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at email@example.com.
Think About This: “You deal with others with grace when you walk around with the humble realization of how deep your need for grace was and continues to be.” ―