December 3, 2015
READ: Galatians 2:11-21
I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (v.20).
In June 2014, Hunter Gandee strapped his 7-year-old brother Braden on his back and walked 40 miles. The duo faced the energy-sapping trio of heat, rain, and muscle fatigue. So why take the grueling trek? Fourteen-year-old Hunter wanted to raise awareness of cerebral palsy by doing that they called the Cerebral Palsy Swagger. Due to the effects of the muscular malady, young Braden can’t walk without assistance.
At the 30-mile mark, the two guys had lost a bit of their swag—they were exhausted and ready to quit. But they credit prayer as one of the things that helped them reach their goal. Hunter carried his 50-pound brother the entire way, completing the “Swagger.”
The apostle Paul didn’t show any swag when he simply declared to Peter and the churches of Galatia the message that Jesus alone has carried us from death to life (Galatians 1:2, 2:11,16). A group known as the Judaizers influenced Peter to go along with their false message that one needed to be circumcised “to be made right with God” (v.17). Paul knew that the power of the law was to condemn, not to save. So he plainly stated that it is by God’s grace and our faith in Jesus that we receive salvation from sin and death (vv.20-21; Ephesians 2:8-9).
Perhaps, like me, you sometimes forget that doing good things can’t make us right with God. It can be easy to become performance oriented, striving to do so that God will love us more or accept us. Paul tells us, however, that when we trust in Jesus for our salvation, our old self and ways are crucified with Him. The good we do is to His glory, powered by the work of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us (Galatians 5:13-26).
Jesus does the work. He carries us.
365-day-plan: Philippians 2:1-18
Read Romans 6:1-14 and consider what it means to have new life in Christ.
Why is it important for you to know that Jesus “carried” you and that you can’t earn salvation? What can inspire you to do good deeds for the right reasons?