Law and Grace (part 3)
Galatians chapter 3
The book of Galatians was originally written to young Christians who were being led astray by false teachers. These teachers were attempting to convince them that salvation comes by keeping of the law instead of by God’s grace through faith.
Jesus Christ summed up the law as follows:
And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
In Galatians chapter 3 we read the following:
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
Do you hear the law? Do you understand that the law requires you to do all that it says…continually? Have you loved God will all your heart, soul, mind, and strength continually? Have you always loved your neighbour as yourself? If God were to ask you these questions, how would you answer him?
11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
It is evident (there is conclusive evidence) that no one can be just in God’s eyes by keeping the law. This justification can only be obtained by faith.
12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
Once again, God reminds us that the law is about “doing” and not faith.
13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
Jesus Christ loved you and me so much that he took this curse upon himself by dying on the cross in our place. Obviously, this is not a mere sentimental kind of love. It is the love of God. It is a love that is willing to suffer anything for the benefit of you and me.
So why did God give the Law? He gave it to us to teach us that it is impossible to get to God by our own goodness (by “doing”). The Law is our “schoolmaster” that teaches us this. When this lesson is learned then we are ready to come to Christ to be justified by faith.
24 Therefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Have you learned the lesson that the “schoolmaster” has sought to teach you? Have you been brought to Christ and justified (made just in God’s eyes) by faith? You may ask “How can I be justified by faith?”
God has made this very simple. You must repent of your sin and place your faith in Jesus Christ. Repentance is sometimes defined as “taking sides with God against yourself”. In other words, you must accept that you rightfully fall under the curse of the law due to your sin and you must desire to turn from your sin and live for God. Placing faith in Jesus Christ is believing that Christ paid the penalty for your sins upon the cross and asking God to forgive you based solely upon his Son’s sacrifice and not upon any work that you can do. You must come “empty handed” (bringing nothing to offer him) and accept God’s gift of salvation with childlike faith.