Last week we skimmed over a very important verse in our study of Galatians that I want us to take a deeper look at this week. This is a verse that further helps us grasp the gospel of Jesus Christ, in order that we may truly experience the free life Christ died for us to enjoy.
Today I want to get right into the text by reading Galatians 2:21 where Paul says:
“I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” – Galatians 2:21 (NIV)
If you remember, the Galatians had been tempted to think that in order to receive salvation from God, they must partake in Jewish traditions. Paul has fervently been advocating against this false belief by using argument after argument to support the true gospel that says there is nothing we can do to be saved. We are only saved by grace through faith.
And in doing so he reminds the Galatians that the law—the rules given to the Israelites by God through Moses—only shows us our sin, but it cannot save us from our sin. We are only saved by the grace of God. So I love that Paul says, “I do not set aside the grace of God,” because this is essentially what the Galatians are doing. This is what we do every time we think we can earn our salvation: we reject God’s grace and the work Jesus has already done on the cross.
When my son is finished eating he always does the same thing to let us know he is finished. He pushes his plate away from him, setting it aside as a message that he no longer has need of it. When I’m cooking I set aside the ingredients that I don’t need yet, ingredients that will be of no use to me in the current moment. When it comes to finances my husband and I set aside money that we do not want to use. When you set something aside it’s because you don’t need it, it’s in your way, you don’t want to use it, or it’s not important. There are times and reasons we need to set certain things aside, but God’s grace is never one of them.
Maybe you’ve set aside the grace of God because you feel you need to work for His love and approval. Maybe you’ve set aside the grace of God because you feel like your sin is just too much. You are in the pits of sin, and you think that not even God’s grace can pull you out of this one. Maybe you know that God is powerful, and a healer, and deliverer, and can do anything, but you’ve set aside the grace of God because you don’t trust that He will do it for you. Despite our feelings, our fears, and how great our sin may be, the Word of God tells us to not set aside the grace of God.
No matter how hard we try, we cannot receive salvation without grace. Grace is the unearned favor of God. The Bible tells us it is a gift, and you don’t earn gifts; you can only receive it. So do not set it aside for any reason. But if you are tempted to think otherwise, let’s go there and see what happens.
Let’s just go down this path of thinking we can earn our own salvation. Let’s say there is some level of work we can actually achieve that will grant us salvation, right relationship with God, and forgiveness of our sins through our own work and effort. Then what? Paul pleads and reasons that if this is the case, then Christ died for nothing. He explains that if righteousness could be gained through our effort, work, and our trying to be good, then Christ died in vain.No matter how hard we try, we cannot receive salvation without grace. Click To Tweet
Let’s think this through, Beloved. If there were another way for us to be saved, if we could somehow work for it, if we could somehow be good enough for it, do you honestly believe God would have sent His only Son to die in our place?
If there were another way for us to have our sins forgiven that we may be in right relationship and right standing before God, do you think that God would have allowed His Son to suffer even one minute? Would He have allowed His Son to carry such a lonely, bloody, gruesome burden if there were another way?
I cannot logically believe that if there were another way for God to bring salvation into this world He would still have allowed His Son to be crucified—His only Son, with whom He was well pleased—to take on such a punishment if it were not necessary.
God allowed it because it was the only way for us to receive forgiveness of our sins and salvation. It was the only act of God that would reconcile us to God and prevent our eternal separation from Him. It shows how much He desperately wants to be in relationship with us. So every time we set aside God’s grace, it’s like telling Jesus He really didn’t have to die. It’s like saying it wasn’t that serious. But because Jesus did die, because He freely gave His life, reason tells us it was not for fun or for sport, but because it had to be done. If Jesus did not die, there would be no salvation for anyone.
So the next time you are tempted to think you are not good enough for God, that your sin is too much to forgive, that your past is bigger than His love for you, I urge you to resist putting aside the grace of God, because Christ did not die for nothing. He died for you.
Now I want to hear from you today, Beloved. What is one thing that has happened in your life that you know was nothing but the grace of God? I can’t wait to read every one of your comments!
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