Galatians 3:1-14 (Read Here)
Galatians 3:15-29 (Read Here)
So often we feel overwhelmed and swamped with the things that are seemingly required of us to be a “good Christian.” Serving in church, attending service regularly, tithing a certain amount of money, feeling content in our circumstances 24/7, running in constant pursuit of peace and joy even when it seems like the hardest thing to do—If I’m not doing these things, how can I be a good representation of Christ? Am I even a Christian at all? I know these thoughts have crossed my mind more than once.
This chapter is a letter of reassurance to the Galatians, who are being easily swayed by false teachers speaking about how the Mosaic law takes precedence over the Abrahamic promise of a blessing to every nation through Christ Jesus. The Galatians saw Christ crucified with their own eyes, yet were so hung up on what the false teachers were saying. “Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?” (3:2) Paul asks. We can ask this same question of ourselves today.
Did we receive the Spirit by works? Or by faith? It’s an easy answer, for we are humans who fall short of the things God asks of us all the time. In no version of this story could we ever receive the Spirit by works alone. That is one of the most beautiful things about the crucifixion and resurrection: it freed us from having to rely on ourselves. Before Christ came, following the law was the most important thing. In verse 23, Paul writes that the Galatians were held captive under the law, and it stood as a guardian until Christ came and the covenant God made with Abraham was fulfilled.
We are so lucky to live in a post-covenant world, where Christ came, died, and resurrected. We don’t have to worry about slipping backwards into a time where works were it. The only action we have to take is to simply receive the blessing of Christ. Nothing more.
Take a moment to read through verses 25-29 and take comfort in those words.
“But now your faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”
Our salvation never has and never will hinge on the works we feel like we have to accomplish to be a good Christian. We are recipients of the blessing that is salvation by belief in Jesus Christ. Not by anything else. Praise the Lord! Our failures, shortcomings, and doubts are not our identity. One of my favorite songs by NEEDTOBREATHE says a line that I feel encompasses this chapter:
“I’d say, ‘God, I’m only human’
You’d say ‘That’s what I’m here for.’”
We are not in charge of our own salvation. Jesus has never failed us. God keeps his promises, and we get to be a recipient of this one. Amen, amen, amen! This chapter should feel like a weight lifted off of our shoulders. Rest in that this week.