Galatians 3; John 15; Amos 8-9; Ecclesiastes 2; Nehemiah 7; Deuteronomy 13
Paul was dealing with a problem in the church located in Galatia. People were coming in and confusing people by teaching that to be saved, you had to obey the law. In particular, the law of circumcision.
Paul pointed out to the people of Galatia that the promises of God are irrevocable. When he says to Abraham that the Savior will come from his descendants, he kept that promise.
When the curtain separating the holy place from the holy of holy’s was torn in two after Jesus said, “It Is Finished,” the way was now opened to God through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
When Jesus said, “25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.[a] Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”” NRSV, he meant every word!
There has always been this fight within the church between Grace and Holiness. Since the moment Jesus ascended to Heaven, it has been there. It’s there because we struggle with the concept that we can’t save ourselves. Satan continues to whisper in our ears that we aren’t good enough, so we create standards that prove to ourselves and others that we are saved. That way, we can point out flaws in other people and give ourselves a sense of false-pride.
However, if we genuinely believe that it is by Grace, we are saved, then that changes everything.
- If we are saved by Grace, then my past doesn’t matter. I can let go of that guilt. Jesus has wiped it away.
- If we are saved by Grace, then holding that grudge is only hurting myself because the person who wronged me is a child of God, and Jesus has wiped away his guilt also.
- If we are saved by Grace, then that bully in the schoolyard is saved by grace also!
- If we are saved by Grace, then that political opponent of ours isn’t evil. He, too, is a child of God who Jesus loves!
- If we are saved by Grace, then the person who lives a lifestyle that we don’t agree with is also saved by the blood of Jesus Christ.
- If we are saved by Grace, then that child with emotional problems cannot be a nuisance because he is a loved child of God.
- If we are saved by Grace, then the complainer at work, who drives everyone crazy, is saved by Grace.
- If we are saved by Grace, then the person sitting in prison needs to hear about the saving work of Jesus Christ. No matter what they’ve done. Because they too are saved by Grace.
- If we are saved by Grace, then the homeless addict on the streets deserves our care and support. Because they too are saved by Grace.
- If we are saved by Grace, then our lives matter to God! He loves us in spite of what we have done! He loves us so much that he sent his son to live a life for us and to pay a debt we couldn’t pay. Our lives matter to God only because God loves each one of us! Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are the exclamation point on the love of God for all of mankind. Our past sins can never reach a point that Jesus Christ cannot cover them up and remove them from God’s sight.
- If we are saved by Grace, then when we strive for holiness, we don’t do that as a way of atoning for past sins. We don’t do that to give us a better place at God’s table. We do that out of thanks for the grace that Jesus gives us.
The truth is that all of us have fallen short of God’s standards. That’s why Jesus came to save us. Because we couldn’t save ourselves. Out of his love for each one of us. So that we could be saved by the Grace of Jesus Christ!