Today you should read: Galatians 5:1-15
The message of the cross can actually be offensive. Maybe for you, the idea that you need a Savior, or that there is nothing you can do to add to your rescue, is a little hurtful. Truth is, in our culture, one of the greatest obstacles to sharing our faith is the sobering message that we cannot save ourselves. People don’t like to hear that. While it may be disheartening or offensive to some, it is truly the most beautiful, freeing message we can ever share. This passage illustrates the process of God liberating us from the obligation of keeping the whole law. Circumcision, before the time Paul was writing, was the way to separate the righteous from the unrighteous. It’s what made a person “good enough” to be a covenant member of God’s people. After Christ, though, circumcision was a mere tradition; it didn’t have the same effect. Also, any person who becamea member of God’s people through circumcision bore a certain obligation to produce moral characteristics and uphold the law. Paul iterates here that if you maintain the belief that circumcision is part of salvation, then you obligate yourself to uphold the whole law.
Christ came and sacrificed himself, paying ultimately the debt that each person owed. Now, because of his death and resurrection, righteousness is through faith in the blood of Jesus, not in any act or tradition we uphold. This is good news for us! If we choose to stay our hearts on any other hope except salvation through Christ alone, whether it’s hope in other people or ourselves, we are fooled by empty promises and are “severed from Christ,” (v. 4). What a great truth that we are justified, made right through Jesus’ death (our debt paid), and given new life and freedom from the shackles of performance through his resurrection!
Paul explains here that no one is righteous apart from Christ. No amount of religious practices or good deeds will save anyone. We must remind ourselves of the “offense” of the cross: we are not good enough; he is infinitely worthy. Our hope will not be in ourselves; it’s in Jesus. Obligation to the law is slavery; justification by faith in the grace of God is liberty. Paul once said he decided to know “nothing except Jesus Christ, and him crucified,” (1 Cor. 2:2). I don’t know a better message than this: Christ died, he arose, and salvation is in no other name.
Maybe you have experienced the pain of carrying a load that’s far too heavy for you to bear. That’s what “saving ourselves” would be. You know that there is no life for us in that pursuit. There is only slavery and death unless we place our faith in the all-satisfying Treasure–Jesus,whose sacrifice atones! One thing I know: Christ satisfies. He is worthy, and there is REAL life in Him.
“O, the wonderful cross, bids me come and die and find that I may truly live.”
Posted by: Taylor Gilliam- Ministry Intern; West campus