Last week, after I posted my video titled “Legalism Does Not Make You Holy – It Just Makes You *Appear* Holy”, I received some push back from a few readers. It seemed that the main concern was that my message could cause young believers to take advantage of God’s grace. In other words, it felt like I might be giving believers a license to sin. I completely understand this concern, so let me explain further before we look at today’s passage in Galatians.
The message of the cross is that we do not earn our salvation.
We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
No one disagreed with me on that. But there was still a concern that I did not make a strong call to the obedience of believers.
So let me add that when we get to Galatians 5, we will see Paul call on believers to walk in the spirit and not gratify the desires of the flesh. He will list many sins that are evidence of unbelief and those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.
Paul writes in Romans 6:1-2 & 12-14:
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?…12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Paul asks- Should we sin so grace may abound? No!
And so we see that the Bible is clear that after salvation – which comes through Christ alone, we are called to not let sin have dominion over us and the motivation for obedience is God’s grace – NOT the law.
There is still no place in the church for legalism.
Our motivation for obedience must come from God’s love and grace.
Some of us grew up in homes where maybe your dad left or maybe you had a dad that felt impossible to please and you never felt good enough or maybe your husband has left you. Sometimes when these sorts of things happen, we put our human relationships on God. We take those experiences and apply them to God and we feel like we can’t be loved unconditionally, so we start working to earn it, earn it, earn it.
You are a daughter of God.
Thank him that he is not like those people! He is a perfect father.
We do not have to win God’s approval.
God does not want us trying to earn his love. He wants us to believe his love for us and be secure in that.
Let’s look at how that is further played out in our reading this week in Galatians 4.
4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Paul says that Jesus was sent to redeem those under the law, so that we are no longer servants but rather a son and heir.
It is his Spirit inside of us that allows us to cry out to him as Abba, Father.
When you remember the story of the Prodigal Son, you might remember that when the son had finally squandered all his wealth and he began to be in need he said:
18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’
The Prodigal son decided he would return to his father as a servant but how did the father respond?
20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
The heavenly father did not treat the prodigal son as a servant – he treated him as a son!
Most of us believe that God loves people but are you always confident that God loves YOU?
God knows you and he loves you and if you aren’t secure in that, you will spend your life trying to earn it.
In Galatians, Paul says you already have this love relationship, so why do you live like slaves trying to earn his favor when you can’t. We used to be like the slave before we came to Christ but now we are free and receive the full rights of a son.
Galatians 4:7 says as children of God, we are heirs with him.
Consider that as children of God, we have a a great hope of an inheritance waiting for us in heaven.
1 Peter 1:3-4 says:
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.
As children of God, we have eternal security through Jesus Christ and we do not have to earn it.
Isn’t that amazing!
Shouldn’t that change the way we love God and live for him?
As a daughter of the King of Kings, your relationship with God is secure.
He is your Abba, Father. Do not seek security in other things. Rest in his love because as you learn to rest, you will grow closer and closer to him. And the closer you are to him, the more your heart will desire to honor and obey him.
And so that brings me back to where this blog post began — Our walk with the Lord is not about rules, it is a relationship.
Legalism says – do.
Grace says – it is done.
We do not have to earn our righteousness – that is being self righteous BUT we do want to strive to do what is right and good out of an over flow of our love for our Abba, Father.
You are a daughter of the King of Kings. Live like it and shine for him!
Keep walking with the King,