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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Believe by Faith

Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the Law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it?  I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ. 

It is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying the law that a person has life.”

Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises? Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.  Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed. Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 
—Galatians 3: 2-5, 11-12, 21-26 (NLT)

What about you? Do you strive to be good enough instead of allowing Jesus to set you free?  His grace is the only road to freedom. Do you live your life with the mindset that if you work hard enough, you will be forgiven? The law doesn't forgive. It just reveals what needs to be forgiven. When you accepted Him into your heart, He forgave you. His work was completed on Calvary. Nothing else was required to fulfill the requirements of the law. He had fulfilled it. There He exchanged His righteousness for your sin. It was finished.

When you believe by faith that you are purified by His Word because it is truth, then you begin to understand in your conscious mind that His grace changed everything. You realize by faith that His truth is the very same as His grace. You recognize by faith that your work to change yourself earns you nothing, accomplishes nothing, and only frustrates your self-effort. But when you surrender to the Holy Spirit’s work in you, He teaches you truth and the power of His grace. Any work you then offer is a natural outflow of His grace in your life because you have believed by faith—not because you have met a requirement so Jesus will love you! Grace has already loved you completely at Calvary. Believe and live His freedom as a believer. “So Christ has truly set us free,” Paul wrote. “Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law” (Galatians 5:1, NLT).

In the New Testament epistles, more than a thousand directives are given that are essential to living a victorious Christian life. These are not laws carved in stone as the Law of Moses. These are directives written on the human heart by the Spirit of the living God. If you don’t understand the grace that set you free at Calvary, then these directives become a burden instead of a joy.  

You don't have to work to earn His mercy. He already paid that price at Calvary. You live His directives with joy when you realize what grace bought for you. He, who was without any sin, took your sin—all of it—so that you might be washed completely clean, and become His righteousness. You are free only because He said "yes."  He chose you. You chose Him the day you asked Him into your heart. Now, by faith in the Son of God who gave His life for you, choose to believe Him. 

© 2019 Lynn Lacher

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