Read His Words Before Ours!
Friend, more than anything, right now I want you to know that you are loved. You are loved by the King of Kings. And you, dear one, did absolutely nothing to earn it. The way you raise your children, the frequency you attend church, the cleanliness of your house, the income bracket you fall into… none of that determines the love the Great King has for you.
Because we can do absolutely nothing to earn the love that is given as a gift.
That’s almost unheard of in this society.
Good teachers receive “Thank you” gifts at the end of the year.
Hard workers receive bonuses.
Dedicated volunteers receive recognition and a gift card for appreciation.
Friends who give time and energy are given great birthday presents.
And so on…
We have been tricked by the way things are done today, into thinking that no gift is really just given – including the gift the Lord has offered to us!
But you cannot earn this gift.
We have fallen into the same trap the church of Galatians fell into. Paul writes to them, asking who has tricked them? What spell are they under? Why do they think they must live their lives following the laws of the Old Testament?
Paul reminds the Church that they didn’t receive the Spirit by following the law or by doing good deeds. It was because they had FAITH. They BELIEVED that Jesus is God’s Son.
Deuteronomy 27:26 says that anyone who doesn’t follow the law is cursed, and Paul reminds the Galatians that if they rely on the law, then they fall under that curse because it’s impossible to keep it!
The New Testament author, James, says it like this:
For whoever keeps the whole law, but fails in one point has become guilty of breaking all of it. (James 2:10)
If we claim to rely on the law, or being “good enough”, to earn salvation and entry to Heaven, then we stand condemned already because it’s utterly impossible to keep the whole entire law.
Why can’t “close” be “good enough”?
I’ve never killed anyone or stolen anything.
I’m not as bad as a lot of other people.
The problem with that reasoning is that the standard for morality isn’t “other people”.
His standard, His law, His righteousness.
Our God isn’t a “pretty good God” or a “decent” authority or “mostly” righteous.
He is flawless.
To be in His presence, you have to be flawless as well.
So, relying on the law, and our own ability to be good, in order to gain righteousness is clearly a bad idea.
By forgetting that it is through faith we have received Jesus, we fall under that curse.
We start living by laws… some that we’ve written for ourselves and some that have been written for us by other’s expectations.
There’s always Jesus.
You see, there’s another curse.
One that says that anyone who hangs on a tree is cursed. (Deuteronomy 21:23)
Jesus OVERCAME the curse of the law by becoming another curse by hanging on a tree!
He did that so that we might believe through FAITH instead of having to follow the law.
Through faith, we are freed to live by grace instead of legalism!
But, here is where Paul takes his audience a little deeper….
“Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3)
Most of us will readily admit that we obviously can’t obtain salvation on our own.
We need Christ’s perfect sacrifice to make us right before the Holy God.
But after we’ve asked Jesus to be our Savior and seeing Him transform us, we start looking around.
We think we should be doing life like that friend.
Being a Christian like this friend.
We read Scripture and pretty soon all we hear is condemnation….I’m not loving enough, not kind enough, not generous enough, not good enough…
And so we try harder to be better Christians and get it all together so we can be more like Jesus, or at least more like that other woman…
And legalism has snuck in again.
“You foolish Galatians!”, Paul cries in disbelief.
“Having begun with the Spirit are you now being perfected by the flesh?”
Friends, we are not the Holy Spirit.
We can no more make ourselves more like Jesus than we can earn our way to Heaven by trying to hold onto the law.
When we try to grow our own Christianity, we spit upon the gift that Jesus died to give us.
Freedom from the law.
Freedom from “good enoughs”.
Freedom from condemnation and expectations.
Freedom from ourselves.
Sister. Do not get stuck trying to follow the law. Do not get stuck trying to be the picture-perfect woman with the Instagram worthy beauty and the Pinterest inspired home. Don’t get caught trying to earn the love of Jesus by trying to earn the love and acceptance of the world.
Take Him at His word. Believe that Jesus really does love you just because He does. Both for the gift of salvation as well as making you more like Himself!
He began this work in you, and He alone will finish it! (Philippians 1:6)
*today’s Journey Study co-written by Kendra Kuntz and Rebecca Adams
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!