I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Galatians 3:2 (NIV).
Gut check time. What do you really believe about this whole ‘Jesus thing?’ Do you honestly, truly believe in your core that He is the only way, truth and life, and that believing in Him is the only way into heaven? Or, do you think “yeah, that’s probably true.” Or, worse yet, do you think that, by living a good life, doing good things, even being morally upright, you are deserving of His redemption? Do you believe Jesus’ Spirit came first to you or you came first to Him?
What do you believe? What does your gut tell you?
Paul confronted his friends with this question: what do you really believe? He had preached Christ crucified to them, and they believed it. They accepted Jesus and began to follow Him, began to let His Spirit remold their lives. Yet there were some who also believed they should mix in now-antiquated Jewish customs. The laws of Moses had been the code of Judaism – the code of the faith to which Jesus subscribed and by which He lived His entire life – for over sixteen hundred years. It had been decreed by God Himself (one person of whom was the pre-incarnate Christ). It meant something and shouldn’t be so easily discarded.
Newsflash: all those beliefs about Judaism and Jewish beliefs have merit. They’re worth considering, and there are good, Godly lessons we as Christians should learn from them. But they won’t save you. If you put your faith in those old laws and not in the Christ Immanuel who lived to keep them perfectly, you’re damned.
Yep. Damned to hell. Condemned. Game, set, match, gut check or not.
Paul heard about this and presented the Galatians with a gut check. Did they believe they needed to do things to earn salvation or did they believe that Jesus did it all? What did they really believe, these foolish Galatians?
What do we foolish people of century twenty-one believe? Do we believe in Jesus but also that we need to do things, act certain ways, pray certain prayers, whatever, to earn His favor? Or do we simply believe Jesus and what He said and did? What do we really believe?
What do you really believe? At the end of our lives, Jesus Himself will ask us that, and there won’t be any legalism to help us squirm out of giving an honest answer. It’s not a matter of us being “good enough,” because, alone, we aren’t. It’s a matter of ‘do you really believe in Jesus’? Gut check time, my friend.
For further reading: John 20:22, Romans 10:17, Hebrews 4:2, Galatians 3:3
Lord, strip away any unbeliefs I have and help me to confess I believe in You alone.
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