Have you added anything to the grace of Jesus Christ that you think makes you a Christian or closer to God?
Galatians 1:1-5 – Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— and all the brothers who are with me, To the churches of Galatia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
I became a Christian in college and have had a heart for college students ever since. The first ministry that my wife Grace and I led as a newly married couple was a college ministry. Wanting to have a retreat for the college students, we partnered together with multiple churches. The worship leader for the retreat was a talented musician, nice guy, and on staff at another church. One night as we sat around as leaders, we had a conversation I will never forget. After a few hours of talking about ministry and music, it dawned on me that he had not said anything about Jesus Christ.
Feeling compelled to hear his answer, I kindly and gently asked, “If someone asked you how you know you are a Christian, how would you answer them?” He said, “I was born in a believing home, I’ve been in church all my life, I work at a ministry, and I’ve devoted my life to serving God.”
While all of those things are good, none of them makes someone a Christian. In fact, one of Jesus own disciples who was not a Christian, a man named Judas, could have given the same answer. The more we talked, something concerning became clear. He trusted in himself, not Jesus. He trusted in his works, not Jesus’ works. He did not understand the three ways Jesus works.
1. Jesus works for you.
Jesus lived the perfect life we have not lived, died the death for sin we should have died, rose from death to defeat the enemy we could not conquer, and gives the gift of salvation that we cannot earn. This is the “grace” of God, and it brings us “peace” with God.
2. Jesus works in you
The same Holy Spirit who empowered the life of Christ lives in the Christian. He gives us a new heart, new nature, new power, and new desires so that we are transformed at the deepest level of our being. This is precisely what Paul, the author of Galatians, experienced in his own life as he went from religious terrorist to preacher of the gospel.
3. Jesus works through you
As a Christian, the works of Jesus through you are spoken of as living for, “God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” Nearing the end of Galatians, these works of Jesus through us are called “fruit”. The point of spiritual fruit, like physical fruit, is to feed other people and help them become healthy.
What has Jesus done in you? What ministry is Jesus doing through you?