Galatians 2 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of G_d, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of G_d; for if righteousness comes from the law, then Messiah died for nothing.” Galatians 2: 20b-21
I grew up in (what is known as) the “Bible belt”. In the Southern US, a larger-than-average percentage of the population goes to church, hence the name “Bible belt”. Without going into all the cultural nuances of living in the south, I would like to describe my church experience there.
Growing up, I remember a lot of preaching about G_d’s grace. I recall most sermons pleaded with people to accept “Jesus” and accept His free gift of eternal life. I recall hearing how there was no “good work” a person could do to be saved. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with those messages! They communicate the freedom of the gospel. Maybe that’s why “Jesus’ is so popular down south...
Sadly, once a person crossed the “line of faith”, they were often inundated with a myriad of rules. It was as if one entered a room of bondage through the door of grace. Whether it was an issue of drinking, personal relationships, dress code, or Bible translation…it was very difficult for new believers to live-up to the standard of some churches.
Becoming a believer was easy, but keeping-up your Christian “image” was almost impossible. As a result, many people walked away from the “church”, twice confused. They had undergone a religious experience, but under the legalistic burden of others, they could never be certain their faith was the real thing. They definitely couldn’t be honest about their growth process, for fear of being exposed as a “sinner”.
Paul had an issue with that type of Messianic comminuty. Just to set the record straight, a follower of Yeshua is redeemed by faith in Him, alone…apart from the works of the law.
As one rabbi once said, “The mark of a believer in Yeshua is not their perfection, but rather their direction.” Another added, “We are not saved by faith and works. We are saved by faith that works.”
The idea is that we are not saved or kept by the good things we do for G_d. We are saved because of Him, set apart for Him, and redeemed & kept by Him. True, His children should have a desire to do good works, but their motivation is out of thankfulness &obedience, and not to earn or keep their own salvation, which is impossible for mankind.
If we could earn our own salvation, we don’t need a Savior. Therefore, Messiah would have died for nothing.
Let’s be thankful that Yehsua’s death meant death to sin, and that His resurrection is life to all who, by faith, believe.
~Steve Wiggins, Associate Leader, Worship Leader
Daily Devotional, Monday, September 30, 2013