“Do” vs. “Done”
Day: 2 | Plan: Christ Alone
Today’s Reading: Galatians 2
Galatians 2:15-16 (NIV) “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.”
What I appreciate about this First 5 community is our diversity. We represent many cultures, countries and faith backgrounds. Yet, we are one family united by one common belief: Jesus is our Lord and Savior.
It wasn’t much different in Paul’s day. In the church at Antioch, we find people of different cultures and faith backgrounds: Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews) who believed in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They should have been one happy family, but due to their diverse backgrounds, division arose.
Up to this point, everything was about following the Law. To earn favor and access to God, people had to “do.” They had to follow the Mosaic Law. Jews had to be circumcised. Now, Paul was teaching a radically different concept. Access to God now comes through faith in Jesus, not through the Law.
Controversy arose because some who had infiltrated the church believed that all Gentiles, needed to be circumcised.
But, the conflict wasn’t really about circumcision, it was about Law versus faith and what makes us right with God – obedience to the Law or believing that Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins.
According to God’s Word, our sin nature prevents us from being in an intimate relationship with Him because He is holy. But, God does not leave us without hope. Because of His mercy and grace, He supernaturally justifies us by our faith, meaning, He gives us right standing before Him when we believe in Jesus as our Savior. He declares our sin forgiven and moves our status from “guilty” to “not guilty.”
Most other religions, including Judaism, required men “do” something to gain access to their God or gods. This rings true even today. But, in Christianity, God has “done” that something for us. He sent Jesus to die for our sin. We need only say “yes” to what Jesus offers us on the cross. The moment we do, God justifies us – He forgives our sin and gives us right standing before Him.
Let’s dig a bit deeper into this topic of justification.
Justification is an act, not a process.
It’s instantaneous. When we say yes to Jesus, we receive immediate forgiveness and peace with God. It’s ours now and forever.
Justification is by God’s hand, not dependent on human effort.
When we confess our sin and put our faith in Jesus, Jesus takes our sin upon Himself. From that day forward, when God looks at us, He no longer sees our sin, He sees Jesus in us.
The law says “do.” Justification says “done.”
This is God’s glorious gift of grace.
No act, no ritual, no specific words make us worthy of this gift. It is only by God’s grace, in response to our faith, that God has credited Jesus’ righteousness to us. When God looks at us, He no longer sees our sin, He sees the holiness and perfection of Jesus.
Many in the church at Antioch were going back to salvation by obedience to the Law. Paul reminded them Christianity is not obedience to a set of rules and regulations, it is solely about faith in Jesus as their risen Lord and Savior.
Prayer: Father, thank You for no longer requiring us to offer sacrifices and perform rituals to be in right relationship with You. We are no longer bound by the Law because you sent Jesus to be the ultimate sacrifice. Because of Him, we are forgiven of our sin and stand in right relationship with You. Hallelujah! Today we celebrate Jesus and Your gift of grace. We praise You and thank You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read Galatians 2:19-20. God sent Jesus to earth not to enforce the Law or add to the Law. Jesus... Read More
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