For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.
—Galatians 5:4 (NLT)
You can’t make yourself right with God. Nothing you do makes you right with God. If you are trying to make yourself right by keeping the law, you have cut yourself off from Jesus! It is impossible to follow every rule, and when you fail one requirement, you have failed them all. Only the Grace of Jesus makes you right with God. Only His righteous life for yours sets you free from the penalty of spiritual death.
The KJV version of Galatians 5:4 reads, “Christ is become of no effect to you, whosover of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”
Christ has no effect in our lives when we try to justify ourselves by what we do. We bury ourselves trying to win God’s approval when the Grace of Jesus has already approved us. We are justified by our faith in Jesus—not by our works. He alone makes us right with God. When we make our work more important than Jesus’ work on the Cross, we lower God’s opinion of what the blood of Jesus purchased. If we measure ourselves by the law instead of His Grace, we will fail. When we give more importance to the law instead of the precious gift of our Savior, we fall from His Grace. We fall back into the law.
God doesn’t judge us on what we do. He doesn’t grade our behavior. Jesus bore our judgment. God sees our heart through the gift of His Son. You can’t make your heart pure by doing right. Your heart is only made right believing in Jesus by faith.
"For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus," Paul wrote, "there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love" (Galatians 5:6, NLT). The Christians in Galatia couldn't win God's approval by being circumcised. Following the law was of no benefit to them. What is essential, Paul, said, was faith In Jesus expressing itself in love.
When we know who we are in Christ—when we quit trying to earn what has already been purchased by our Savior, we experience His freedom. There is no veil to separate us from God. We have free access into our Father’s presence.
“You have not come to a physical mountain, to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai,” the writer to the Hebrews penned. “For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking” (Hebrews 12:18-19, NLT).
You no longer come to an Old Covenant God. He no longer judges you based on your performance. He is not now a God of flaming fire and darkness to be feared. Jesus, His one and only Son, changed everything. He sees you through the eyes of Grace.
“You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel” (Hebrews 12:24, NLT).
You can’t earn His Grace. It was given at no cost to you. God does not demand that you work for forgiveness! No law cries out for it. The precious blood of Jesus mediated a new covenant between you and God. There is freedom in Jesus! When we allow the Holy Spirit to teach us through His Word, who we are in Jesus, we experience His freedom. Our faith in Jesus changes everything and flows without hesitation. Our work then is freely given—not striving for approval but free in Jesus who has approved us. Faith expresses itself in love.
© 2019 Lynn Lacher
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