As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.
—Colossians 2:6-7 NKJV
We didn’t receive salvation because of our own righteousness or goodness (Titus 3:5). We received salvation by putting our faith in Christ as our Savior (Ephesians 2:8). In the same way, we receive everything else in the Christian life. However, many who were saved by faith in God’s grace try to earn the gifts of their salvation through their works. They believe God blesses them because of what they do.
When we were saved by faith, we came just as we were—knowing we had nothing to offer. We hadn’t been fasting, reading the Word, or praying a lot but we received the greatest gift of all—salvation. We received a new life in Christ. But after receiving Christ by faith, many believe that they can only maintain and keep their salvation through their works. They worry that if they don’t fast enough or pray enough or read enough or give enough God will stop loving them. That is not true. Paul said that those who attempt to prove themselves righteous fall from grace (Galatians 5:4). They put faith in what they do instead of what Christ did.
“This only I want to learn from you,” Paul asked the Galatians. “Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? (Galatians 3:2-3, NKJV).
Having begun our Christian life by putting faith in Christ, we should continue our Christian life living by faith in Him. Faith in the grace of Jesus produces works that are alive and not dead like the ones born of the need to prove ourselves. Any work we do seeking to prove to God we are worthy of His love is about us. It tells God that His grace wasn’t enough. Christ died so we might be made worthy. He paid that price. When we work to win God’s love, we belittle the gift of righteousness He has given us. We say His worthiness wasn’t enough.
Instead of focusing on our inadequacies, we need to put faith in what God has already provided by grace.
“Listen,” Paul declared! “If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. 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 5:2-4, NLT).
If we are counting on what we do to make us right with God, there is no benefit to us. These works are dead. We can’t find favor with God through what we do because He has already favored us in Christ. If we try to make ourselves right with God by keeping the law, we fall away from His grace. We frustrate the work of faith in and through us (Galatians 1:21).
“But we who live by the Spirit,” Paul continued, “eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. 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 5:5-6, NKJV).
Faith expresses itself in love! Let’s live by faith and by the Spirit! Let’s know who we are in Christ so we don’t have the need to prove ourselves to God who already proved Himself to us. When we know the immeasurable worth Christ has placed within us, we know there is no benefit in what we do. Faith in the good grace of God produces fruit in us—not work born of our need but born of His righteousness having met our need.
When what we do is born of faith in Christ’s finished work of grace, we have no need to prove ourselves through our work. We are free of the need to perform. The love of God abounds within us and expresses itself in love.
We aren't the center of our universe! Our life in Jesus is not about us. It is not about our work. It is about His work. It is all about Him. It is about His grace which expresses itself in and through us. It is about Christ, the hope of glory, within us—freely giving just as He gave Himself for us.
© 2023 Lynn Lacher