Faith or Works? | Galatians 3:1-14
Galatians 3:1-14 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing-- if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? Consider Abraham: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you." So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law." Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith." The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, "The man who does these things will live by them." Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
Although hammered home here in 55 AD, many still deal with the question: Faith or Works? Is salvation accomplished simply by believing, or must I have to do something? From a human and cultural standpoint, the latter seems more plausible.
Everyone knows “there ain’t no free lunch.” Things are acquired in life by hard work and determination. Blood, sweat, and tears produce bounty, success, and gears. My house, job, and cars are the result of sacrifice. My earnings are just that—earned! Relationships take time and energy. Think of the hours and dollars it took to build a foundation from which you “popped the question.” Why should a relationship with God be any different?
In one sense, it’s not. A great work was done. A tremendous price was paid. Blood, sweat, and tears were poured out. The issue is simply that the work done was way too much for us. The price paid was more than we could ever afford. Our blood, sweat, and tears would have come up short. So God did for us what we could not do for ourselves. He did the work we could not do. He paid the price our depleted account couldn’t cover. He sent his Son to pour out sinless blood that we did not possess. Salvation comes at an awful cost. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.”
The work we could not do was done by Jesus. He offers us a relationship with him that has been paid in full. The work’s done. We must respond in faith.