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Friday, September 20, 2019

Only Jesus

Dear brothers and sisters, here’s an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or amend an irrevocable agreement, so it is in this case. God gave the promises to Abraham and his child. And notice that the Scripture doesn’t say “to his children,” as if it meant many descendants. Rather, it says “to his child”—and that, of course, means Christ. This is what I am trying to say: The agreement God made with Abraham could not be canceled 430 years later when God gave the law to Moses. God would be breaking his promise. For if the inheritance could be received by keeping the law, then it would not be the result of accepting God’s promise. But God graciously gave it to Abraham as a promise.

Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. God gave his law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people. Now a mediator is helpful if more than one party must reach an agreement. But God, who is one, did not use a mediator when he gave his promise to Abraham.

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.

—Galatians 3:15-21, NLT

Why am I tackling this long passage of Scripture?  If I could teach on all of Galatians 3 in one devotional, I would!  And perhaps you won’t find this exciting. But it is to me because Paul teaches I’m now under grace and not under the law. I’m free from the law. I don’t have to perform according to rules for God to accept me. When I believed in Jesus Christ, I received God’s approval and promise of freedom.

The covenant God made with Abraham is irrevocable. God gave the promise to “Abraham and his child.” The "Abraham and his child" to which the promise was given represent Abraham and his descendant, Christ. The agreement with Abraham is one of grace. There was no law Abraham had to keep to receive it. If the law had been in force at that time, some of the things Abraham did would have broken it.  There was no law until it was given to Moses 430 years later on Mount Sinai. And that law given to Moses didn't cancel the covenant of grace that God had given to Abraham. If it had been canceled, God would have broken his promise. Abraham's covenant of grace is still in force—just as the law is still active. Abraham’s covenant of grace is received by faith through Jesus Christ, who perfectly fulfilled the requirements of the law. Abraham's faith in God was credited to him as righteousness. Jesus, as our perfect mediator, has met the requirements of the law and set us free. We are heirs to Abraham's promise, and faith in Jesus is credited to us as righteousness. Jesus has paid what the law requires. We live in His grace and not in debt.

The law only exposes sin. It doesn’t make us righteous. We are made righteous by faith in Christ. Those who depend on the law to make them right with God are cursed because they can't entirely keep the law. They erroneously believe that their good performance will make them acceptable to God. Only faith in Jesus sets you free from the condemnation of the law! To perfectly keep the law (which is still active just as every other covenant made by God is active) you can't fail one rule. If you fail once, you have failed over 600 laws. Only Jesus could perfectly mediate for our payment. He was our perfect sacrifice. He became the curse for us because we can’t save ourselves! In Jesus, we are free from having “to do” to be saved. We believe by faith, and faith in Jesus makes us righteous to God.

“Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses?” Paul asked the Galatians. “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” (Galatians 3:2-4, NLT).

What about you? Are you striving to be perfect when Jesus has made you righteous by faith? You can't make yourself righteous by keeping a law. That becomes self-righteousness. After accepting Jesus as your Savior, why do you bear the weight of guilt from sin, which Jesus bore for you on the cross? Have you experienced the grace of Jesus for nothing? When you understand who you are in Jesus, you are forever changed by the Holy Spirit. Living for Jesus doesn't come by self-effort. It comes from the gift of His life for yours.

“The law was our guardian until Christ came.” Paul wrote. “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” (Galatians 3:24-25, NLT). 

If you believe the Good News of Jesus, you are accepted and approved by God. Jesus has made you worthy. Nothing you do makes you worthy.

“You are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you” (Galatians 3:26-29, NLT).

You are heirs to God’s promise of Jesus! By faith, you are saved! Nothing of yourself!  Christ makes you free!  Nothing you do gives you freedom!  Allow Him to teach you who He has made you! That is the answer to live for Him! Seek truth in His Word, and see how it reveals the promise of grace in Jesus Christ. He is your answer. Only Jesus.

© 2019 Lynn Lacher

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