Galatians 5:2-6 – Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
When Grace and I were first married, I made the same mistake over and over. We were broke, but I really wanted to ensure that she had a dependable car. Over and over, I bought a car in faith that it would run. And, every car was a lemon that broke down.
Because having faith in someone or something is only worthwhile if the object of that faith is faithful. Paul tells us that we only have two options.
Option 1 – Faith in me and what I do for God
This path leads only to hell, and never to heaven. To keep the laws of God requires that we be, as Jesus said, “perfect” and keep every law perfectly. But sin is a condition that only God can change, and not just an action that we can change. Furthermore, since our life is a test, even if we started obeying God perfectly today, it’s too late as we’ve already failed our test. Lastly, Jesus emphasized not only the letter of the law but also the spirit of the law so that lust and adultery, as well as murder and talking trash about a Christian are equally transgressions in God’s sight. If your faith is in you to save yourself, then your faith is in vain. For this reason, religious people need to empty their hands of all that they have accomplished, so that God can fill those same hands with grace from Jesus who is your perfection.
Option 2 – Faith in Jesus and what God did for me
This path always leads to heaven and never leads to hell. Jesus did all the work necessary for our salvation through his sinless life, substitutionary death, and bodily resurrection in victory of Satan, sin, death, hell, and the wrath of God. When it comes to getting, and staying, right with God, Jesus did all the work and gives us all the benefits. This is grace.
Our relationship with God is sourced and sustained by grace. In fact, any other healthy relationships with others must be also. This is what Paul means saying that the “only” thing that matters is “faith working through love.” Once you know that God loves you, forgives you, and has grace for you, it frees you up to share that grace with others to heal broken relationships with others as God has healed your broken relationship with Him – all by grace.
Do you have full confidence that you have trusted in Jesus Christ, received grace from God, and have nothing to fear when you stand before God on the day of judgment?