For many of us, it seems there is a daily battle to improve on the righteousness of Christ. What I mean is we subtly adopt the thinking, “If I read my Bible today, God will love me more.” Or, “Since I forgot to read my Bible yesterday, I have to read it today so that He will still love me.” This sort of thinking is adding to the work of Christ. We live like it was totally up to Jesus to get us into the Kingdom but it is totally up to us to stay in the Kingdom!
It seems this was the thinking among the Galatian Church. They were adding to the Gospel – the Good News of Jesus’ life, death & resurrection which makes people right before God. We respond to the Good News by faith alone because by works of the law no one will be justified (Gal 2:16).
But our attitudes many times reflect otherwise. We think, feel, try to live as though our goodness (our “law-keeping”) does make us acceptable, or even more acceptable, before God. In my study of Galatians 2 I came across these words that I found to be helpful & clarifying:
This sort of thinking betrays a low view of God and the law, and a high view of ourselves. We need to realize that the God we are seeking to please is a consuming fire, an awe-inspiring God of blindingly pure holiness who cannot tolerate sin. He is no easy God to please. What is worse, despite our best intentions, we are still woeful at law-keeping. When we actually compare our behavior with the Ten Commandments or the Sermon on the Mount, we come up embarrassingly short….
By trusting in Christ for our righteousness, we have utterly abandoned the path of law-keeping. We have died to it…. That part of us has been crucified with Christ, and our new life with Christ is lived out in trusting him (i.e. faith).
Phillip Jensen & Kel Richards, Free for All, p. 27
Folks, that is GOOD NEWS! My standing before God isn’t based on my obedience. My standing is sure because Christ’s work is FINISHED (John 19:30).
I am so glad Galatians 2 is true & so very clear that I simple man like me can understand it.
Gal 2:16-21 (ESV) “we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”
Christ died for a purpose. That purpose is your freedom from performance based fear & doubt. His death brings absolute assurance to all who repent & trust.
Christian, stop trusting your works. You will never be good enough. Christian, every single day look back to the cross and trust in Jesus’ life, death & resurrection as the only means of acceptance.
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus name.
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand…