Chapters 3 & 4 of Paul’s letter to the Galatians are a powerful presentation of a logical argument. Paul reasons from a logical position of considering the history of the Jews and God’s dealings with them to show how the new covenant of grace could not possibly include any aspect of the law. These two chapters are a synopsis of his great Summa Theologica we call Romans, and were written almost 10 years prior to that great work.
We still need to hear these words today.
As a Catholic, I was taught that I would be judged by my works and if my good works did not outweigh my bad, then I would probably have to spend some time in Purgatory until the scales of justice were in my favor.
Many believers, though not brought up in the Catholic tradition, still cling to some sort of the same belief. Though most Protestants do not recognize any place of cleansing such as Purgatory, they still believe there is a balance sheet and they are desperately trying to come out on the positive side.
Paul argues here that there is NOTHING we can do to be justified before God. You cannot pray enough, go to church enough, give enough, help enough, love enough, fast enough, read the Bible enough, serve enough, or die enough to satisfy the demand of your sin. Not enough rosaries have been manufactured; not enough places of pilgrimage have been established; not enough saints in heaven are available to make your way to God secure.
The greatest truth ever told to me was that there is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5). When that truth broke through into my heart, all the years of the fear of getting it wrong went out the window in a moment of time.
Now, I find myself continually ministering to people who are still trying to not get it wrong.
These are believers who love the Lord, but have been told there are things that they must do or not do to prove their salvation.
This is sometimes carried along by well-meaning people when they try to witness. It goes something like this:
“Are you saved?”
“How do you know you are saved?”
And the ‘buttonholed’ one responds with something they did at a certain point in time.
Subtle. So don’t miss this.
I am not saved because I accepted Jesus.
I am saved because Jesus died for my sins!!!
I was saved 2000 years ago! That has always been my answer whenever I am asked by those who look for more than faith.
“Are you so foolish? Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law or by the hearing with faith?” (Gal.3:3-5 paraphrase).
Look to yourselves. Examine yourselves whether you be in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5). Why do you do the things you do? Is it out of faith that is working by love? (Gal. 5:6) Or, is it out of some other motivation or reason?
Are you looking backward to the cross, or forward to the judgement seat? Where is your trust?
NOTE: This is the third in a weekly posting on the Epistle to the Galatians. I am not the only one who is writing on this book. There are others who will be posting something on their blog each day of the week. We are each bringing something that the Lord gives us from chapter three of the epistle. You will be greatly blessed and encouraged, and your heart will be filled if you will take the time to read each day’s posting from one of the other saints involved in this collective effort. Put this link in your “favorites” or on your link bar at the top of your browser: http://www.philter48.com/bbs/ and make it a point to visit everyday.