“We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”
Paul is building this argument that nothing added to Christ’s death on the cross brings us to salvation. The Galatians (as we discussed yesterday) were being led to believe that there was more than faith required for salvation. So Paul says…. if this worked why did we (Jews) have faith in Christ to be saved? If our works, our obedience to the law can save us, why in the world are we doing this now? He says this to point out the foolishness in what was happening to the Galatians.
Sanctification (the process of pruning sin by the Spirit) IS necessary for experiencing a free, powerful, intimate life with Christ. However, the lines now between justification (being saved by faith) and sanctification. These Jews were now perverting the truth the Galatians were sharing by leading them to believe these blurred lines. Consequently the Galatians would be left with a powerless Gospel. Imagine being told, as a sinner, the only way to be saved is to have faith… and stop doing all the things you currently like to do. Scriptures like Romans 6, Galatians 5, and many others tell us that before having faith we are slaves to sin! So anyone who came to the Galatians to hear about the Gospel had no power to do anything aside from having faith. Therefore to tell them that they must begin sanctification to also begin justification is like telling a blind prisoner that the way to get out of jail is to begin to see and then he will see the plan to get out. It’s impossible! The problem is the current teaching was even worse. Not only could this blind man not see, but if he were to miraculously be able to see he would also see that even with this plan his vision doesn’t get him out of the prison cell. Our works are not sufficient for justification. If they were then the Jews would have had some who were reaching sanctification without faith.
The point here is: faith alone saves us. Justification is a gift through faith. Sanctification is a gift FROM faith. The Spirit seals us in Christ paying for our sins and then allows us to call upon Him to change our lives. That is the process, not changing our lives to keep the Spirit present. His job is to help us get rid of sin, it’s illogical to say that his job is predicated on those actions having already taken place (elimination of sin). Lot’s of words to just point out that if you have faith you’re saved.
God, I know it is human nature to think we have to do something to earn gifts. Help me to remind myself that You died on the cross so that we wouldn’t (because we couldn’t) earn salvation. Help me to preach purely what You have taught me.
The beauty of the Gospel is that it is simple. It is open for anyone to come. It says come how you are and enjoy the process. You can offer this truth to ANYONE! It doesn’t matter if they are in prison for murder, just committed adultery, or someone who on the outside seems perfect. All they have to do is believe that Jesus, who was God, lived and died to pay for our sins. Believe! Go share the Gospel and free some slaves! 🙂