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When Christ set us free

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law...For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace. But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. Galatians 5:1; 4-5

From the text, Paul wants more than anything else for us to remain free. We invalidate the Lord’s redemptive work if we allow ourselves to be enslaved again to the same numbing religious rituals and structures from which He has liberated us. Besides, nothing else matters. The only thing that counts is neither an external religious act like circumcision, nor any other outward observance of the law but “faith” (Galatians 5:6). Unless we are prepared to obey every minuscule jot and tittle of the law, which we won’t be able to accomplish, our efforts will not amount to anything. Central to everything Paul has written defines faith as a firm and certain knowledge of God’s generosity toward us, founded upon the truth of the freely given promise in Christ These were both revealed to us and sealed upon our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Jesus defines it more simply. When Jesus was asked, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?” Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:28, 29). The gospel is the good news about Jesus (His life, death, resurrection, and life-saving ministry). Christian faith is faith in Christ. It is the object of our faith that counts. The faith that expresses itself is faith in Christ. The only thing we can preach is a personal faith, since lip service to traditional doctrines can no more save us than acceptance of physical circumcision can. What matters is honest faith in Christ. The outward things of religion—circumcision, dietary laws, Sabbath observance, or the mere mouthing of doctrine—can’t save us. To trust in such things is to be alienated from Christ, “fallen away from God’s grace” (Galatians 5:4) and having no right to hope that the Lord will declare us righteous one day. Faith has to be expressed through our obedience to God. This is what James argued. “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds” (James 2:18).


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