God’s Grace & Our Faith (Part 52): The Only Thing You Have to Boast About is God

by Rick

NOTE: Before I get into the Word this morning, I want to give you an opportunity to partner with us to be a blessing to disadvantaged families in the Dominican Republic.  Our 7th annual Back to School Drive will take place in about a month.  This is one of those situations where you may not be able to “go and do,” but you can partner with those who can.  In heaven, when you give to a project like this, you are as much PART of the project as the ones who are on the ground, giving away the backpacks and school supplies.  To give online, please visit https://ripministries.org/donate.  All donations are tax-deductible in the United States.  Thank you in advance for your generosity.  

Today we will continue our series entitled “God’s Grace & Our Faith.” We are looking at The Law given under Moses vs. the Grace provided by Jesus.  Our primary scriptures are John 1:14 & 17.  Yesterday we looked at Galatians 5:24,25.  Today we will look at chapter 6, verses 12 and 13.

(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.

(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.

The Apostle Paul said, “All those who insist that you be circumcised are recruiting you so they can boast in their own works” (Galatians 6:12).

— Paul went to great lengths in his letter to the believers in Galatia to get their focus OFF OF human works and ONTO 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.

— Religious people fight the message of grace because they like focusing on works.  They feel better about themselves when they focus on what they do and what others fail to do. They don’t realize it, but they are self-righteous instead of righteous by faith in the finished work of Jesus.

People who are very religious love rules because they love to point out when others have broken them. They do this 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 who are casting the guilt and shame with ‘an image of perfection‘ are actually living a lieThey 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, representing Jesus the right way, and living holy.  But what they are actually doing is driving people away from Jesus.  

— 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 themselvesThese people feel a need to put others down to lift themselves up. 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.

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” (Galatians 6:13).

— 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.  

— People who live rule-based instead of grace-based wind up being religious and self-righteous. They think they are doing the right thing by attempting to be “right” with God by works.  But what they are doing is making Jesus irrelevant in their lives. If we could be made “right” with God by works, Jesus would not have had to die for our sin.

— People who believe they are righteous by works wind up looking down on those who do not “perform” on the level of their supposed goodness. But this is a facade becuase none of us are righteous outside of Jesus. All of us sin.  John made it clear that if you claim to be without sin, you are a liar, and the truth is not in you (1 John 1:8).

— Please don’t live a lie. Be honest with God, yourself, and 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 about 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.

— 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.

3.  You are not performing to get God to move. You are seeking to discover and believe in the moves God already made.

— God’s only motivation towards you is His love. He loves you with unconditional love. He is tirelessly committed to the plans He made for you before the world began.  But if you spend your life trying to work for His approval, you will waste your life becuase you already have it. God already loves you. If you are in Christ, He already made you righteous. If you are Born-Again, you are already declared holy in Him. If you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you are already empowered to do what you were placed on this planet to do. None of this happens because you are so good. All of this happens because God is good. Because of His amazing and unearned grace!

— You are not trying to get God to love you. He already does. You are not trying to get God to bless you. He already did. What God is looking for from you now is an acceptance of His finished work.  When you learn to discern and REST in what God has already provided, then you get to live #TheGraceLife. This life is a life of faith. Living this way, your exercise faith to believe and receive what God has already provided. You now know you are not trying to get God to move becuase He already moved. You are just seeking to make a human alignment with your divine assignment. As you do, you tap into God’s grace to become the man/woman you were born to be.

— This series is about God’s grace and our faith.  When you settle in your heart the reality of God’s grace (knowing that everything God does for you is unearned), and that your job is to believe and receive by faith what God already provided, then you will never look down on others becuase you know you are not earning anything yourself. At that point, you are free to run your race, at your pace, with God’s grace, and you are also free to allow others to do the same.  

— Religious people base their entire lives on performance, so it’s understandable why they are always measuring their performance against others. But grace-based people know we are not trying to earn anything. We are just attempting to believe and receive what God has already provided. Therefore, we have nothing to boast about.  If we do become the men/women we are called to be, and we change the world, our only boast can be in God.

That’s enough for this week!

Declaration of Faith

Father, I refuse to boast in my own works. I know I could never be good enough on my own. But thankfully, 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 become the men/women we are called to be. And we will!

Me, my family, my friends, and our community of believers will change the world, by Your grace and for Your glory, because You chose to live in us! Without You, we cannot. But thankfully, without us, You will not! Together, we will leave a mark in this world that will not easily be erased!  

Living with this mindset, I remain humble, holy, honest, and thankful. GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.

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