Today we continue our series entitled, “Grace and Truth” by continuing to look at by continuing to look at The Law given under Moses vs. the Grace provided by Jesus. Our main scriptures are John 1:14 & 17. Let’s look at them again.
(John 1:14 New International Version)
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:17 New International Version)
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
In this series we studied Galatians 3, 4, and 5. Today we jump to chapter 6. I want to share what Paul said towards the end of the letter.
(Galatians 6:12,13 The Passion Translation)
12 All those who insist that you be circumcised are recruiting you so they can boast in their own works. They are attempting to avoid the persecution that comes with preaching the liberating message of the cross of Messiah!
13 Not even those who are circumcised keep every detail of the written law. Yet they push you to be circumcised so that they can boast that you have become like them.
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. People who focus on works want to boast in their own ability.
a) The Apostle Paul said, “All those who insist that you be circumcised are recruiting you so they can boast in their own works.”
b) Paul went to great lengths in his letter to the believers in Galatia to get their focus OFF OF human works and ON TO the finished work of Jesus. But he knew that people there would fight the message of God’s free grace. They fought it then and religious people still fight it today.
c) Religious people fight the message of grace because they like focusing on works. When they focus on what they do and what others fail to do, they feel better about themselves. They don’t realize it, but they are self-righteous, instead of being righteous by faith in the finished work of Jesus.
d) People who are very religious love rules, because they love to point out when others have broken them. They do this in an attempt to cast guilt and shame on others, as if guilt and shame are good motivators. They are not. I was raised in a very religious environment and I lived with guilt and shame most of my life, until I gave my life to Christ at 23. This is no way to live. Especially when those casting the guilt and shame with an image of perfection are actually living a lie. They are not perfect and their facade is more damaging than they realize. People who live this way may be convinced (in their own minds) that they are doing the right thing, that they are representing Jesus the right way, and that they are living holy. But what they are actually doing is driving people away from Jesus. And Paul explains in our text that they are doing it because deep down inside, pointing out the flaws of others makes them feel better about themselves. This is NOT the gospel. This is NOT what Jesus died for. Jesus died to make us free. If we are going to boast, our boast must be in HIM and not our works.
2. People who claim to be perfect are being dishonest.
a) The Apostle Paul said, “Not even those who are circumcised keep every detail of the written law. Yet they push you to be circumcised so that they can boast that you have become like them.”
b) James said that if you attempt to keep The Law, living a good life, but you break just ONE of the rules, then you are as guilty as the person who broke them all (James 2:10). This is why you cannot live by the rules. Jesus came to deliver you from performance-based religion.
c) John made it clear that if you claim to be without sin, you are a liar (1 John 1:8).
d) Don’t live a lie. Be honest with God, with yourself and with others. If you are righteous, it is only because of Jesus. If you are holy, it is only because you have been cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb. If you are going to boast in anything, you should boast in what Jesus did. Not what you do or don’t do. Don’t lie to yourself and attempt to be self-righteous. Rest in the finished work of Jesus. Accept everything He did for you and live in His reality for your life.
e) When you get to the point where you know you are who you are by the grace of God and NOT your performance, you won’t be as hard on yourself as you used to be and you certainly won’t be as hard on others. It’s hard to look down on others when you know how messed up you are. Said another way, recipients of grace are extenders of grace. God has been gracious to you. Enter this day ready to be gracious towards others.
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I refuse to boast in my own works. I know I could never be good enough. But Jesus was good enough for me. I know I am far from perfect. But Jesus was perfect for me. I am not self-righteous. I am righteous by faith in Jesus’ finished work. I am not a self-made man. I am a God-made man. My only boast is in You and what You called me to do. So I refuse to look down on others, because I know my performance did not bring me divine success. I only am who I am, and what I am, because of You! I am a recipient of Your grace and now I extend grace to others. You have freed me from performance based religion. You now use me to help free others as well. We are free to be the men/women we are called to be. And we will! We will change the world, by Your grace and for Your glory, because You choose to live in us! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!