Over the past several weeks I have been wrestling with the ideas of faith, righteousness, and keeping the law, wondering how they all fit together. Actually, I have wrestled with these ideas many times in my life and throughout my walk with Christ. So here I sit again, with my Bible in my lap asking God to reveal His Gospel, His plan for salvation to me once again.
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Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been given by the law. But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. – Galatians 3:21-25
If God gave the law, it must be good, right? And if it is good shouldn’t I endeavor to keep it? Doesn’t God want me to be righteous?
Yes, I do believe the law is good — no, perfect. And, yes, I do believe God has called us to righteousness. Scripture tells us so: ”seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). But our righteousness is not what we are to seek. It is His and His alone.
The prophet Isaiah said that any of our good works are nothing more than filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), that apart from Christ we can do nothing good, nothing holy, nothing worthy of earning us a spot at the feet of Jesus (John 15:5). Why? Because we cannot keep the law. We cannot keep it because we sin. And we sin because we are sinners. Which is why we need the promise of faith.
Here in Galatians, Paul makes it very clear that the law was given as a tutor. It’s purpose was teach us right from wrong, but never to make us righteous. It was also designed to show us God’s perfection and our imperfection (man, is that word an understantment. Which reveals to us that we can’t be holy like Him, we can’t be perfect, we can’t be righteous — we need a Savior! We need Jesus.
Our only hope is to have faith in Him and Him alone.
So I must conclude again that righteous does not come by the law. It comes by faith.
Faith in the One who kept the law perfectly.
Faith in the One who took my punishment, who redeemed me from the curse of the law (Yes, there is a curse! [Galatians 3:10-14]), who makes me a daughter of God.
It is faith in Christ and all that He has accomplished for us that makes us righteous in the sight of God. And it is by this faith alone that we please Him.
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. (Romans 10:4, emphasis added)
You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. (Galatians 5:4-5, emphasis added)
Lord, it seems too simple, yet I am so thankful for the simplicity of the Gospel. Placing my faith in your Son is all I can do, all I have to do to be washed and made holy. I am a filthy sinner, Lord, no matter how hard I try not to be. Even when my outward actions appear right, my inward thoughts and intentions very rarely are. Thank you for sending your Son to live perfectly on my behalf, to take my punishment and to rise, bring those who are dead to life. I love you God and I ams so grateful for your unfailing love and mercy. By your Spirit may I live a life that reflects a grateful heart. In the name of your Son I pray. Amen.
Dear friends, this post was written while reading Quietly Through the Bible, a two-year reading plan. Below you’ll find a link to the this month’s reading schedule. If you’d like to get your hands on this resource at the beginning of each month, join our Facebook group. And if you written something in response to your time in God’s word, please share it our link-up.
Only by grace,
September Reading Plan https://www.dropbox.com/s/at6zhu8bx95aerl/Y1M9Bookmark.pdf?dl=0
The “simplicity of the gospel” … it’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it? And yet sometimes too much for our minds to fully grasp! Great Word here today!
I often get simple confused with easy. The gospel may be simply, but it isn’t always easy. It isn’t always easy to believe that simple faith in Jesus is enough. Especially when so much of the world tells me I have to prove myself, to be better, to do more, and keep working, working, working. If I listen and fall for the lies of this world it robs me of the peace the Lord has given me.
As we think about these things, we should be amazed and so grateful that our salvation isn’t based on our own righteousness. If it was, we would all be doomed. We no longer must keep the law in an attempt to earn anything from God. Instead, we should want to obey the law to the best of our imperfect ability out of our love and gratitude for all He has already done. It’s not a burden when it’s love driven.
“It’s not a burden when it’s love driven.” Amen and amen!