Galatians 3:1 - 9
3 You foolish people of Galatia! Who has put you under an evil spell? When I preached, I clearly showed you that Jesus Christ had been nailed to the cross. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you. Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law? Or did you receive the Spirit by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? You began with the Holy Spirit. Are you now trying to complete God’s work in you by your own strength? 4 Have you suffered so much for nothing? And was it really for nothing? 5 Why does God give you his Spirit? Why does he work miracles among you? Is it because you do what the law says? Or is it because you believe what you have heard? 6 Think about Abraham. Scripture says, “Abraham believed God. God accepted Abraham because he believed. So his faith made him right with God.” 7 So you see, those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8 Long ago, Scripture knew that God would make non-Jews right with himself by believing in him. He announced the good news ahead of time to Abraham. He said, “All nations will be blessed because of you.” 9 So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham. He was the man of faith.
The Galatians were saved by faith, received the Holy Spirit by faith, have seen miracles by faith and the Spirit, and know the history of Abraham, whose faith was credited to him as righteousness. Despite all this, they are now being tempted to try to earn their way to heaven by obeying certain things in the law – perhaps only to avoid harassment by legalistic Jews, or perhaps out of fear that faith alone isn’t enough.
I believe we sometimes fall into the same trap. For example – do we always give from our hearts (showing our faith), or because it is the acceptable thing to do (depending on works)? Do we always serve out of love or out of obligation? What is our motivation?
It can be hard to accept that eternal life is purely a gift received by faith – not earned. We need to frequently remind ourselves of this fact, and make sure that what we do now is because we love Jesus, not because of a set of rules.
God looks at the heart. Let’s refresh our hearts by humbling ourselves, and accepting again God’s gracious gift by faith.
Written by Megan Cornell