Becoming perfect by our own human effort? – Galatians 3

judge gavel - becoming perfect by our own efforts - Galatians 3It was as perplexing back then as it seems to be today. I’ve talked with several people who have this mindset of the Galatians – that you must obey the law for your salvation. Although we’re not talking circmucision today, as in the day, there are still laws that people try to measure themselves against for their salvation. “Have I done more bad things today than good?” This is an age-old trick of the enemy. Get people focused on “doing” rather than “being.”

Paul makes it clear, in no uncertain terms, that this is the farthest from the truth.

The law condemns. It shows us our sins. It was designed to last only until the coming of Christ. No one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law.

2 Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by keeping the law? Of course not, for the Holy Spirit came upon you only after you believed the message you heard about Christ. 3 Have you lost your senses? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? 4 You have suffered so much for the Good News. Surely it was not in vain, was it? Are you now going to just throw it all away? 5 I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law of Moses? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.

It is through faith that we have life. We receive God’s promise of freedom ony by believing in Jesus Christ.

This seems so clear. Yet, why do we punish ourselves when we sin? Why do we live like prisoners to our sins? Why do we see people fall away from the church because they feel they can’t live up to the standard? True: we must confess our sins and repent. But, this is separate from our position in the Kingdom.

Why is it difficult to see? Why is this freedom just out of reach for many? For those that have heard the truth and believed, how can sin continue to strangle us?

Could it be that there are so many among us that do not have faith in Jesus Christ? Are there still those that have not heard and understood that faith in Jesus Christ is what saves us?

grace & peace,
e

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  1. #1 by cindyinsd on April 22, 2008 - 11:13 pm

    I have trouble with this, too. It seems somehow ungrateful not to feel continual guilt for my past sins, especially since I certainly knew better. But God has removed my sins from me as far as the east is from the west, and as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him. Thank you, Lord.

    Yes, Jesus’ blood is good enough. How dare I even suggest it might not be. No, I don’t deserve it, but that’s not the point. The blood of God is sufficient and I must take my eyes off myself and forget about myself and see only Him.

    Thanks for the encouragement,

    Cindy

  2. #2 by Anonymous Believer on April 23, 2008 - 6:40 pm

    Great questions. Perhaps the reason we have so much difficulty letting go of the “law” is because we live our non-spiritual lives tied to non-spiritual rules and regulations that have corresponding consequences for failure to abide. As toddlers (no electrical outlets, do not throw food), school kids (no gum, no skipping class), teenagers (curfew, honesty), spouses, employees, drivers…whatever we do outside our spiritual lives will in some way be governed by a rule of some kind. It is hard to accept that in what matters most the rules distill to the simplest of statements….to love God and others as He loves us….and that we fail more readily, more easily, and more often at what is most important than we fail at the less important. Which in turn fuels the guilt. My heart hears God say “I already know everything you ever have thought or done and everything you ever will think or do, and I love you and forgive you anyway.” My mind cannot get its arms around that. In these times, I return to Paul’s words in Romans 7:14-20: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing.” Paul never doubted his faith, his salvation, or God’s love and forgiveness. Neither should I. But I still have to be constantly reminded of it.

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