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Never Good Enough

“I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law , then Christ died for no purpose.” Galatians 2:21

We have a long list of heroes. Maybe they are modern-day ‘saints’ or celebrities. Maybe they are the hard-working members of the family from generations past. But for many of us the list of heroes includes a number of biblical characters of old. Samson and his strength. Noah and his obedience. David and his heart after God. The list could go on. These heroes all have one thing in common with us. They were never good enough. They failed. They could not meet the requirement of righteousness before God.

“Not even Moses, the giver of the law, was able to keep the law.” We, like them, need faith in someone else to be saved. And we are granted that in Christ.

“You and I are so completely unable to obey the law that we can’t do so even when we want to. We may have good intentions, but the ability to fulfill those intentions is not present within us.”

“Yes, yes,” you might be agreeing, “that was true before I cam to Christ. But now that I’m justified, I’ve got to work hard.” Yes, it’s true that we are called to zealously work and seek to obey. We’ve been given the power of the Spirit and a new nature. Yes, the ultimate power of sin in our lives has been broken. But what we have to remember here is that Paul isn’t writing to unbelievers, telling them how to get saved. He’s writing to the Galatian church, to believers who had succumbed to the heresy that obedience to the law had to be added to their faith in Christ. They had been deceived into thinking that they needed a bit of faith in themselves, too. They didn’t think they were deserting the Lord; they were just adding to their faith a touch of law keeping, a little proud (and damning) self-righteousness.”

Paul’s response to the church is his strongest language as if shouting. He says “why would you think that you are only God’s treasured possession based on your obedience?” If you gain reward from your work, Christ died for no reason.

“God’s intention to have a people who are his treasured possession is not thwarted one whit by your works (or lack of them). You see, he’s gotten his “chosen race,” his “royal priesthood,” a “holy nation, a people for his own possession” (1 Pet. 2:9) by his Son’s work.” We have been given a gift we couldn’t earn.

Rest in that truth. Obey with hope, not at what you might do, but in what has been done for you.

Lenten devotion from Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Day 10.

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