Galatians 5: So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. 2 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. 3 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. 4 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. 5 But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. 6 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.
The traditions of religion continue to pull us into a “follow the law” mindset. It was not different for the new believers in the church in Galatia. Paul in the letter to the Galatians spoke to the problem and wrote of the freedom we have in Christ from the standpoint of God’s grace. This grace takes imperfect lives and changes them with the Spirit of God daily. This process is best seen in our faith expressing itself in love. The realization of the love of God through experiencing His grace is life-changing and generates a love back to God that is expressed through a growing faith. That faith draws us closer to the originator of this grace.
Those who claim to know Christ, but want to keep Him at arm’s length will always insert a very religious element into this truth about freedom that binds the believer to something more religious in nature than relationship in nature. Of course, we only pollute the processes of grace by inserting our own impressions of how things should be and try to think there is something we can do to make God more real and evident to us. Those efforts fail miserably when we leave out the overwhelming love and power of God’s grace. Grace compels us to pursue God in a deeper relationship, while the law compels us to live bound lives that fall miserably short of God’s standard. Grace doesn’t lessen God’s standard for living a Godly life but makes it more realistic as we live in the freedom our soul experiences in God’s grace. Our freedom is sorely underrated, of course, by how enamored we are with our own righteousness. That self-righteousness falls short every time. EVERY TIME!!!
Possibly the reason we don’t win as many people to Christ is that we don’t have a clear understanding of the effect grace has on our life. Grace changes everything!!
First of all, we live in the grace and it is seen in our lives. Our being “right” with God has a much bigger effect on our life than just going to heaven. God changes who we are to be like Christ or Christian. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin so that we could be made right with God through Christ. If we miss this great truth, then the fuel for our fire to share the Gospel is depleted and dependent on our righteousness and we run out of gas immediately because we have nothing to offer. William Wallace in Braveheart yelled out freedom as they killed him for fighting for that freedom for his countrymen. Jesus yelled out freedom for us for all time when He said, “it is finished!” Let us never cheapen what Jesus did on the cross by falling into a teaching that makes anything about us and how good think we are. We are nothing without Christ and everything with Christ!!
Paul continues on in chapter 5 of Galatians to emphasize the point of living by the Spirit’s power and not our power. Paul also says in verse 1717 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. This war is constant and we can only live in freedom from losing this fight again and again by living in God’s grace. We who are imperfect, live as though perfect because of the pure grace of God made possible through Jesus Christ. The fruit of that life is much different than a life lived out of a sinful nature that is not controlled by God. You can read about the different fruit further in Chapter 5 and see what God’s grace makes possible when we live in the freedom He provides.
With God’s grace, we are Perfectly Imperfect. But we are useable for the Master as we show we are nothing without Him and His grace.
The Pilgrimage continues….