Paul is dealing with a church in Galatia that is struggling with holding on to the old ways of Jewish life, of keeping the Law of Moses or turning to the new way of life and a follower of Christ Jesus. They were trying to combine the practicing of the Law with the freedom Christ gave by His atoning, fully acceptable sacrifice to God for our sins. The religious leaders of the day were even demanding circumcision for new believers as evidence of their faith.
The Apostle is quite adamant about this issue because they were many who were teaching the old traditions to the new converts; they simply did not understand the way of Christ that fulfilled the Law. We are prone to do the same thing as these brothers from the first century church.
We live in a society that is results driven; one must perform for rewards in order to succeed. I am certain every new convert struggles (as do those who are older in the faith) with keeping the “list of do’s and don’ts” in order to please God. As we mature in Christ, we learn He has done the work of salvation. Our duty of service to Him is the outcome of a thankful heart out of love, not the checklist in order to be accepted by God.
Do we trust in the finished work of Christ for our salvation? Are we walking in a way with Him that pleases Him in obedience without looking to our obedience for our own salvation? Brothers and sisters, we must grow in faith and trust in Christ and in He alone. We can never measure up to the standards of God on our own. The Law was to give guidelines and commands for God’s people and to draw and keep them near to Him because He alone is the only One who gives salvation.
When He came down in the flesh as the Christ, He made the way for the believer to be reconciled to God without animal sacrifice and keeping the letter of the Law. Let us put aside what the religious leaders of Jesus’ day and the early Galatian church were doing; let us keep the spirit of the Law. Jesus describes this as the most important commandments which the Law and the Prophets rest upon, “Love your Lord, your God with all of your heart, mind, body, and soul”, and secondly, “Love your neighbor as yourself“ (Matt 22:40).
As we go forward in our day, and the days to follow, let’s begin with an intentionality that shows the love of Christ in us for Him and His glory as to not make our Christian walk about us and our salvation, but Jesus Christ and the building of His kingdom. Rest in Him and be free to love and the peace of God will rest upon us.
This week’s devotional was written by Nelson Poynter. He is a graduate of Crossroads Bible College and has a heart for God and for His people.