Faith Is the Only Way
1You stupid Galatians! I told you exactly how Jesus Christ was nailed to a cross. Has someone now put an evil spell on you? 2I want to know only one thing. How were you given God's Spirit? Was it by obeying the Law of Moses or by hearing about Christ and having faith in him? 3How can you be so stupid? Do you think that by yourself you can complete what God's Spirit started in you? 4Have you gone through all of this for nothing? Is it all really for nothing? 5God gives you his Spirit and works miracles in you. But does he do this because you obey the Law of Moses or because you have heard about Christ and have faith in him?
6 The Scriptures say that God accepted Abraham because Abraham had faith. 7 And so, you should understand that everyone who has faith is a child of Abraham. 8 Long ago the Scriptures said God would accept the Gentiles because of their faith. This is why God told Abraham the good news that all nations would be blessed because of him. 9This means everyone who has faith will share in the blessings given to Abraham because of his faith.
10 Anyone who tries to please God by obeying the Law is under a curse. The Scriptures say, “Everyone who doesn't obey everything in the Law is under a curse.” 11 No one can please God by obeying the Law. The Scriptures also say, “The people God accepts because of their faith will live.”
12 The Law isn't based on faith. It promises life only to people who obey its commands. 13 But Christ rescued us from the Law's curse, when he became a curse in our place. This is because the Scriptures say that anyone who is nailed to a tree is under a curse. 14And because of what Jesus Christ has done, the blessing promised to Abraham was taken to the Gentiles. This happened so that by faith we would be given the promised Holy Spirit.
When we substitute anything or anyone for Christ, we supplant Christ. There’s no wriggle room in God’s story for any other perspective. Christ is all sufficient. To be a Christian is to believe that Christ, and Christ alone, is the substance and essence of our faith. He is our sole source of salvation, justification and sanctification. There is simply nothing we can do through human effort to improve on what Christ has accomplished. For if observance of any rules, rituals or rites could help, then Christ is unnecessary. To believe otherwise is, in Paul’s words, stupidity (v 1).
If Christ is all sufficient, then living by faith in him alone, is all important. To underline this truth, Paul reminds the Galatians that Christ’s crucifixion has ended all our failed efforts to get right with God (v 1). Here is freedom from law-keeping: Christ’s death on a cross brought about the forgiveness and reconciliation that was attained there solely by the grace of God.
The argument for the sufficiency of Christ is bolstered by contrasting what we do in the flesh with what is done by the Spirit. What God starts in us through the revealing and regenerating work of Christ’s Spirit, can only be completed by the Spirit (vv 2-5). When we try through our own efforts to do what only the Spirit can do, it indicates an absence of Christ’s indwelling Spirit.
To crown his arguments for the sufficiency of Christ, Paul appeals to the Scriptures. It was through Abraham’s faith, not his efforts, that his life was right with God (v 6). Once again, the point being made is that our reasoning and accomplishments do not please God or bring us blessings. But “everyone who has faith” (vv 7, 9) in the sufficiency of Christ is made right with God and “given the promised Holy Spirit” (vv 10-14).
Lord, thank you that Christ is all sufficient. Thank you that through faith my life is made right with you. Forgive me for the foolish times when I try to please you through what I do. Help me believe. Through Christ alone. Amen.