Resting in the Promise
Read: Galatians 4:8-20
In Galatians 4, Paul confesses his worry for the people of Galatia as they begin to turn back to some of the habits they held before they knew Christ. The Christians in Galatia are relying on rules and laws as their means to a relationship with Christ rather than having faith in Christ and the free gift He has given them. Paul reminds them that seeking righteousness by being enslaved to laws is a weak and miserable principle. He spends time in this letter explaining that righteousness comes from faith, not from the law, so that the Galatians might be reminded of how they first came to know Christ.
It’s now 2,000 years later, and the issues that troubled the Galatians still trouble a lot of Christians today. When we come to know Jesus, we simply lay down our burdens at his feet and accept the forgiveness that He freely gives us. It’s tempting, though, to feel like we need to do something to atone for the sins we commit after we accept Christ. As humans, we naturally feel more justified in receiving things of value when we do something to earn them.
Christ, however, did not give us an ability to earn righteousness; He gave us righteousness itself. Once we are in Christ, there is nothing we can do to earn or lose His love, forgiveness or righteousness. When we feel ourselves striving to meet a set of rules or regulations to earn God’s affection, we must remember that we can rest in the promise given to us in Galatians 2:21: “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.”
How often do you struggle with the idea that you need to do something more to be righteous?
What can you do to ground your mindset in knowing that righteousness is given freely by Jesus?