Holy God grant me the vision to see the complete sufficiency of Christ.
Galatians 5:2-6 (NRSV)
Listen! I, Paul, am telling you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you. Once again I testify to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obliged to obey the entire law. You who want to be justified by the law have cut yourselves off from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith working through love.
The text today talks about the best thing ever. We read “you have fallen away from grace,” and it’s easy to think the person lost right standing with God. But if we read carefully, a different picture emerges. We don’t have space for a full explanation, but essentially the Galatians became believers in Christ when Paul shared the good news. They were saved by grace through faith. Then along came some folks teaching that faith was not enough, that they also had to keep the Jewish law.
In the strongest terms, Paul refuted this teaching. There is nothing to be added to the work of Christ. He is entirely sufficient to save us from our sin. Many people today seem able to accept salvation/forgiveness as a gift from God, but then we think it’s up to us to live the Christian life. Good luck with that. In case you haven’t noticed, people are pretty sinful. Just because we have been born again doesn’t mean we won’t ever sin again.
Both our need for salvation (justification) and spiritual maturation (sanctification) come to us as gifts of grace. The “fall from grace” is not a loss of salvation, but a falling back to human efforts to live as God wills. Instead, the Lord would have us walk in grace. Grace is God’s empowering presence to enable you to be everything God created you to be and to do everything God calls you to do. That’s why grace is truly the best thing ever.
Lord God, we get off track sometimes and attempt to live this life in the strength of our own resources. Remind us that we were not justified by works, but by faith in Christ so that we might also live by faith. Your grace supplies all that we need to be right with you and to live right with others. Amen.
May you cease striving to be and do and instead walk in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
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