For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.
—Galatians 5:6 (NLT)
When you place your faith in Jesus, there is no benefit in what you do. Trying to do something perfectly or striving to be best, doesn't make you right with God. Having faith in Jesus is the only thing that does. When Peter first came to Antioch, Paul had to deal with him telling the Gentile believers that they must be circumcised according to Jewish law to be accepted by God. Paul was shocked at Peter’s hypocrisy and informed Peter that he knew better! A person is only made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ.
“For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me,” Paul wrote. “So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die” (Galatians 2:19-21, NLT).
The grace of Jesus was everything to Paul. If keeping the law could have made him right with God, then Christ's death would have had no meaning. Paul said that trying to keep the law only condemned him. Faith in Christ alone made Paul right with God. Thus, Paul stopped working to meet the law's requirements and learned who He was in Jesus. His identity in Christ gave Paul the motivation to live by faith, and the Holy Spirit gave him the power to live what he believed.
Is the grace of Christ everything to you? Have you also died to the law so you can live by faith in God's Son, who gave His life for you? Do you live by faith instead of trying to attain God's acceptance by striving to “perform” ideally?
You can’t win God’s love. Jesus gave it to you on Calvary. It is a finished and perfect work. Not your work. His work. The law doesn’t save you. It only shows you where you fail and how you sin. The grace of Jesus alone saves you.
Allow the Holy Spirit to change your perception of what the grace of Jesus has done for you. Learn who you are in Christ. You were once unaccepted, and now you are accepted. You were once lost in sin, and now you are found in His righteousness. Trust God’s grace to live in you, and quit striving to strengthen your own efforts. Have faith in Christ, and He will do the work in you.
What is the most important thing about your faith? It is love. Faith without love is nothing. “If I had the gift of prophecy,” Paul wrote, “and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2, NLT).
Faith that can move mountains is nothing without the love of Jesus flowing in your relationships with others. Faith without love is puffed-up and vain and self-seeking. You perform instead of Christ living in you. The love of Jesus is the only love perfectly expressed.
Keeping the law doesn't share the love of Christ. It places the focus on how you do instead of what He has done. Jesus expressed life-changing unconditional love when He died for you. Faith in Christ is genuine when you love with His love and not out of obligation because it is the rule.
© 2020 Lynn Lacher