Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it? Galatians 3:1-4
Why are we so foolish?
Why do we still try, day after day, to earn what’s been given?
Why do we still seek value in our accomplishments? Why do we still believe our merit must be proved? Why do we act as if our behavior determines our worth? Why do we often live as if coming in first is the only way to be considered worthy?
We say we don’t and yet…don’t we act differently out in front of others than behind closed doors? Are we not intentionally more gracious when people are watching? Can we honestly say that we never speak in certain ways or about particular things as a means of impressing others?
Can we actually say that we never seek to impress God? Don’t we often behave in certain ways—even pray in certain ways—wanting to show him we are becoming something he will approve of? Hasn’t he already approved? Didn’t he approve of our worth by sending his only Son to die for us?
We have been given God’s Spirit, just for believing. We have been given eternity and immortality, just for believing. God has done all the work. There is nothing for us to do. Thankfully. We couldn’t do it if there was. That’s why he came, that’s why he rescued us—because we couldn’t. And he did it all, there is nothing to earn.
Have we believed so much for nothing?
If we are trying to become perfect by our own human effort, Paul would say we have. If we are trying to gain worth and value from our performance, Paul would say we have. Have we?
I pray we have not. I pray we find freedom in grace. I pray for us today to find joy and hope in the value we can’t earn and none can take away from us. I pray we find the love and mercy and grace of God today. And I pray we simply rest in it.