When reflecting upon the call for us to pursue a life that bears the image of Christ it can become a temptation to slip into an attitude of striving and self reliance. This can cause us to fail at achieving the very goal that we set out to accomplish if we do not understand God’s plan of sanctification for our lives. We were saved by grace through faith and we are also transformed to become more like Jesus through this same combination. When we try to manufacture godliness through mere human means we are destined to come up short every time.
Galatians 3:1-3 “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?”
Christians in Galatia
The Christians in Galatia had become the prey of false teachers who tried to convince them that they could only remain saved if they were circumcised. Thus, these false teachers added a works based qualification to the gospel that derailed them from the purity of the faith that they were taught at first. The apostle Paul strongly corrected this error by pointing the Galatians back to the foundations of the gospel: the work of Spirit in our hearts by grace through faith, not through good works. In other words, the abundant provision of God’s grace received by faith on a daily basis empowers us to become more like Jesus!
Romans 5:17 (ESV): 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
Victory over sin and Satan in this life does not come from us mustering up enough strength to contend with the devil and overcome temptation. Victory comes by the abundant provision of God’s grace enabling us on a daily basis to walk in victory by living in love and righteousness. Jesus has already made the full payment necessary to satisfy God’s wrath and He doesn’t need our help to release more grace than is already perfectly available through the cross! We don’t have to earn grace, God calls us to only believe!
John 6:28–29 (NIV): 28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
Jesus is exclusively and comprehensively sufficient to satisfy God’s righteous requirements on our behalf so that we may be eligible to receive abundant grace every single day. God doesn’t want us to get into the same error of the Galatians where we shift from walking in abundant grace to relying on our own power to live a life of victory over the enemy. We must daily believe the gospel in every aspect of our lives. God wants us to invite abundant grace into our homes, our marriage, our prayer life, our children, our churches and community!
Titus 3:4-7 “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Jesus wants us to remain in the grace of God as the sole provision for everything we need in life. The goal is for the grace of God to shape us into a different kind of person than we were the day before. Being conformed to the image of Christ is not something we can do to ourselves but rather something that God works in us through His abundant provision of grace. The end result should be that we are more capable of extending grace to others as we daily recognize how deeply God has forgiven us!
Prayer for today:
Father I invite you to fill me with abundant grace! Pour out the grace of God in my home, workplace, family, and church! Change me to be more like Your Son so that people can see Him in me more and more each day. Help me not to get distracted by shifting back into my own efforts to grow and change. Empower me to focus on the majesty of Christ like never before, in Jesus name, amen.