Saturday, March 11, 2017
Today’s Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 16-18; Psalm 38; Galatians 2
Topic: The Gospel
SCRIPTURE: Galatians 2:15-16
15 "We who are Jews by birth and not 'Gentile sinners' 16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified. (Gal 2:15-16 NIV)
Paul is accentuating an important truth here to all people, whether Jewish or non-Jewish. Before the coming of the Messiah—Jesus—the Hebrew people lived their lives trying to practice the letter of the Law, following God’s commandments, practicing the Law of Moses and all the legalistic amendments added to it over the centuries. Other peoples—Gentiles—did not have this Law. Oh, they may have had there own laws and codes of conduct, but they were not the keepers of God’s Law; and so to the Jewish mind, they were “Gentile sinners” and damned already.
Paul points out that keeping the rules, no matter how good the rules may be, spares no one from damnation. Only placing one’s faith in Jesus Christ will bring justification before God. Thus Jews and Gentiles alike—all human beings—can have a saving relationship with God through Christ.
To any believer in Jesus Christ this should be Christianity 101:
“The just shall live by faith” (Ro 1:16; Hab 2:4 NKJV).
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. (Eph 2:8-10 NIV)
This seems so obvious to me. This is biblical truth I have been taught my whole life growing up in a Foursquare Gospel church. This is truth understood by true followers of Christ Jesus. It perplexes me that I still hear so many people—even church-going people—state the belief that, “If you are good you go to heaven, and if you are bad you go to hell.”
Yes, evil does evil deeds and evil will not go unpunished. Righteousness follows God’s rules and does good deeds, and thank God for those who behave righteously. But our justification before God has no dependence upon our good behavior, but solely upon the goodness of Christ and our faith in Him.
Lord, this is the simple Gospel message. Help me to communicate it effectively to others, both within and without the Church.
For our eternity and Your glory. Amen. -AP