Friday, May 11, 2012

Rules or Relationship?

Galatians 3:11
(v11) Now it is clear that no one can be made right with God by the law, because the Scriptures say, "Those who are right with God will live by faith." (NCV)

(v11) But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” (NLT)

As chapter 3 of Galatians begins, Paul is boldly standing up to the Galatians calling them foolish and asking them who had bewitched them. Many of the believers in Galatia had been in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost and received the Holy Spirit yet, they were still trying to earn God’s approval by obeying the Jewish laws. “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?” (v.3–4 NLT)

Ok, Ouch! I think about how many times I’ve felt like I wasn’t good enough for God to love. As a result of this way of thinking, I nearly ran myself into the ground trying to keep doing good works and following the “law” perfectly so that He would “approve” of me. Being the approval junkie that I once was, I struggled with this one when I first came to Christ as an adult. You see, I was never really taught about the relational side of Jesus. I was taught to always obey the “golden rule”. As I began to grow into my teens and college years I drifted away from Christ and by early adulthood I had “lost touch” with Him completely.

It was only when I gave my life to Christ in my mid-thirty’s I understood that God doesn’t expect me to follow the law perfectly to earn his acceptance. God loves me [period]. He wants a relationship with me more than anything. All I had to do was recognize that I was a sinner and confess those sins.

Secondly, I had to believe that Jesus paid the penalty for my sins on the cross so that I could spend eternity with him. My debt has been paid; I am free from the bondage of sin! To help me through this new life, God gave me the Holy Spirit to live inside me and be my teacher and my counselor. He will guide me in all things. He will provide for me, protect me, and correct me. The Holy Spirit living inside me is all I need to live a life of faith. I don’t need to obey laws perfectly for entry into heaven. I just have to “walk by faith” trusting God each step of the way.

Related scripture: Hebrews 11:1, Habakkuk 2:4, 1 Timothy 2:5

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