READ : Galatians 2:15-21
A man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. (v. 21, NIV)
Before becoming a Christian I thought that the Bible contained a list of do’s and don’ts by which I could earn eternal life. All I had to do was find that list and obey it to the best of my ability. If I met some minimum standard of goodness, heaven would be mine. Likewise, the gentile (non-Jewish) Galatians tried to win the approval of the God of the Jews by trying to observe the Jewish law. Paul warns them that no one can be “justified” – accepted and approved by God – through the law, that is, by trying to be good enough. That’s because no one is good enough!
We can only find God’s forgiveness and acceptance because Jesus died the death of a lawbreaker in our place. He paid our death sentence in full. When we believe in him, we are “crucified” with Christ and enter a brand new life with God. It is a life of “faith in the Son of God,” a life of gratitude to Jesus, “who loved me and gave himself for me.” So the good we do is not to earn eternal life but to thank Jesus for the eternal life he earned for us by his death.
Lord, rather than try to bypass your grace, I will revel in it and thank you for it.