January 23, 2014
READ: Galatians 3:1-14
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? (v.3).
What must one do to be saved? For the answer, turn to the book of Galatians. The problem that arose in the churches in Galatia remains a question that many Christians battle with today. Are we truly saved by our belief in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross for us, or is something more necessary on our part?
The apostle Paul took pains to help believers understand that we’re justified by grace through faith alone. We could do nothing to secure our salvation. Jesus did it all.
Our Saviour made a promise: I will fulfil the Law (Matthew 5:17). And He did it. His final words as He hung on the cross were: “It is finished!” (John 19:30). They’re translated from the Greek word tetelestai—a colloquial expression used in the marketplace that meant “paid in full”.
One pastor comments, “The sufficiency of the cross is a watershed belief. If we doubt its sufficiency to justify us fully before God, we will seek to augment the cross with our works; and if we seek to augment it with our works, we fundamentally deny its sufficiency and, as it were, ‘fall from grace’ (see Galatians 5:4)”.
This doesn’t mean that we’ll lose our salvation. But it does reveal that we can substitute the fullness of life in Jesus for a form of religion that has no power and no joy.
So where does Bible reading and baptism come in? Not to gain salvation, but to “grow up in [our] salvation” (1 Peter 2:2 NIV) and to proclaim Christ’s salvation (Matthew 28:19).
To be saved, only one thing is required—faith in Jesus Christ. For “everyone who believes in him is declared right with God” (Acts 13:39). —Poh Fang Chia
Read Romans 8:1-4 and Ephesians 2:8-9 to appreciate anew what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross.
After starting your Christian life in the Spirit, how have you been trying to become perfect by your own human effort? What are the differences between a Christian who is living by grace and another who is living by the Law?