Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Comforts from the Cross - Day 10

Not Good Enough

I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. -Galatians 2:21

Today begins with a familiar Old Testament scene.  God made a covenant with His chosen people the Israelites, and used His servant Moses to deliver the message. "You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I have bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself.  Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." Exodus 19:4-6.  God declared His intention to the Israelites in these verses and put a simple qualification of obeying His voice and keeping His covenant.  A few verses later, the Israelites responded with the words, "All that the Lord has spoken we will do."  

If you remember the Israelites of the Old Testament, you will recall that they did not do all that the Lord had spoken.  One of their most famous blunders was recorded when Moses was actually on mountain getting the Law from God.  They thought a god was needed to protect them in the wilderness, so they made a golden calf, who would be "a god to go before them." (Exodus 32:1)  They still worshiped the True God, but thought they needed more.  "They wanted Him, but they wanted their idols too." Moses and Aaron, their leaders, even had stories of when they failed to keep the law.  This leads us to an important question, "Is it reasonable to assume that we'll be able to enter into God's covenant blessings by our works?" 

Paul answered this question in his letter to the Galatian church, "yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose." Galatians 2:16, 21  The believers in Galatia had made the same mistake as the Israelites, they thought they maybe adding obedience to the law as if the work of Christ was not enough.  "They too had been deceived into thinking they they needed a bit of faith in themselves too. They didn't think they were deserting the Lord; they were just adding to their faith a touch of law keeping; a little proud self-righteousness." I like Paul's words here, he didn't sugar coat them or tell them how they could do better. He spoke truth that at times doesn't always process with our actions. "By works of the law no one will be justified."

"You see, He's gotten His chosen race, His royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession" (1 Peter 2:9) by His Son's work."  He has claimed believers as His own, so we do not nullify the grace of God by trying to obey the law.  We simply live and rejoice in grace.  You have received the righteous record of the Son of God.  God does not call us His people just to make us feel better about ourselves, but He has a purpose.  1 Peter 2:9 ends with this strong statement, "...that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." That is why you were justified by grace, to proclaim His excellency. May today you find your joy in the truth that you belong to Him and live to bring glory to Him and Him alone. Christ died for a purpose. It is our privilege and opportunity to proclaim who He is and what He did!

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