Note from Jesus
Dear Beloved Child of God,
I love Peter’s statement about the apostle Paul’s writings:
And remember, our Lord‘s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him — speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand…
(2 Peter 3:15-16 NLT)
Some things Paul wrote are very easy for almost anyone to understand. Other things he wrote used technical language and logic, a kind of logic and reasoning that he had learned in the school of Gamaliel for rabbis (Acts 22:3). Today’s verses contain some of that rabbinic style of teaching. So I want you to pay close attention to what Paul says and not lose his important message to you.
Some people in the Galatian churches knew little about the Scriptures — what you call the Old Testament. Others were very accomplished in the study of the Scriptures. So Paul had to use different styles of teaching and different kinds of examples that made sense to these very different people. He wanted to bring them together in My church through the Father’s grace. Some of Paul’s teaching you will understand. Some may be a bit confusing. Don’t let any confusion discourage you. With a little time and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you will be able to understand the most important things the Spirit led Paul to write to these new Christians.
The fundamental truth behind what Paul wrote is very important. That truth is that your being made right with the Father depends on your faith in:
- My sacrifice on the cross.
- My resurrection from the dead.
- My pouring out the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and on you at your conversion.
You are saved by faith in Me and what I did to save you, not by keeping any law!
In your verses for today, Paul made several points about the inability of a law to save people and make them righteous. This inability of a law to save is true of all law, even the law of Moses. Here are some of the key points to notice in Paul’s message:
- Abraham was counted righteous by the Father because of his faith — not because he obeyed the Mosaic Law. (Abraham lived hundreds of years before the Mosaic law was given.)
- People who trust in Me are counted righteous because of their faith just as Abraham was.
- Trying to be counted righteous by obeying law ends only in frustration. If you break one law out of a system of laws, then you are guilty of all of the law. (“Cursed is everyone who doesn’t live by and do all that is written in the law.”)
- I obeyed and fulfilled the law completely, then endured the cross to carry the curse of the law for you and to release you from that curse.
- No one can be counted righteous or made right with the Father by obeying the law. The life the Father wants to give you is found only by trusting what I did to make you right with Him.
- This life as the Father’s beloved child is yours no matter your nationality, race, or gender. It is given you when you trust in Me and put Me on in baptism and become the Father’s beloved child.
Verses to Live
Law in general, and the Mosaic law, which came from God, are good. They help limit the corruption in a society that comes from people who do evil things. They also help you better understand the kind of character the Father wants from you as His child. But no law-keeping can save you! Only I can do that. So quit trying to earn your salvation by trying to be better by doing a list of rules. Trust that what I did for you in my life, death, and resurrection makes you right with God. Realize that the good things you do and the godly life you try to lead are not done to earn Our favor or get you into heaven. You are choosing to do those things because you have been saved. You do them because you have been adopted into Our family. You want to share the character and compassion of the Father with others!
You remember Abraham. Scripture tells us, “Abraham believed God and trusted in His promises, so God counted it to his favor as righteousness.” Know this: people who trust in God are the true sons and daughters of Abraham. For it was foretold to us in the Scriptures that God would set the Gentile nations right by faith when He told Abraham, “I will bless all nations through you.” So those who have faith in Him are blessed along with Abraham, our faithful ancestor.
Listen, whoever seeks to be righteous by following certain works of the law actually falls under the law’s curse. I’m giving it to you straight from Scripture because it is as true now as when it was written: “Cursed is everyone who doesn’t live by and do all that is written in the law.” Now it is absolutely clear that no one is made right with God through the law because the prophet Habakkuk told us, “By faith the just will obtain life.” The law is not the same thing as life formed by faith. In fact, you are warned against this when God says, “The one who observes My laws will live by them.” I am trying to tell you that the Anointed One, the Liberating King, has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. It was stated in the Scriptures, “Everyone who hangs on a tree is cursed by God.” This is what God had in mind all along: the blessing He gave to Abraham might extend to all nations through the Anointed One, Jesus; and we are the beneficiaries of this promise of the Spirit that comes only through faith.
My dear brothers and sisters, here’s a real-life example I can give you: With a last will and testament, when all the property is accounted for, the document is signed, witnessed, and notarized; and afterward no one can make changes to it. In a similar way, God’s promises established a binding agreement with Abraham and his offspring. In the Scriptures, it is carefully stated, “and to your descendant” (meaning one), not “and to your descendants” (meaning many). Therefore, in these covenant promises, God was not referring to every son and daughter born into Abraham’s family but to the Anointed One to come. What this all means is that the law given to Israel comes along some 430 years after the promise made to Abraham; so it does not invalidate the covenant God previously agreed to or in any way do away with His promise. You see, if the law became the sole basis for the inheritance, then it would put God in the position of breaking a covenant because He had promised it to Abraham.
Now you’re asking yourselves, “So why did God give us the law?” God commanded His heavenly messengers to deliver it into the hand of a mediator for this reason: to help us rein in our sins until the Offspring, about whom the promise was made in the first place, would come. A mediator represents more than one, but God is only one. “So,” you ask, “does the law contradict God’s promise?” Absolutely not! Never was there written a law that could lead to resurrection and life; if there had been, then surely we could have experienced saving righteousness through keeping the law. But we haven’t. Scripture has subjected the whole world to sin’s power so that the faithful obedience of Jesus the Anointed might extend God’s promises to everyone who has faith. Before faith came on the scene, the law did its best to keep us in line, restraining us until the faith that was to come was fully revealed. So then, the law was like a tutor, assigned to train us and point us to the Anointed, so that we will be acquitted of all wrong and made right by faith. But now that true faith has come, we have no need for a tutor. It is your faith in the Anointed Jesus that makes all of you children of God because all of you who have been initiated into the Anointed One through the ceremonial washing of baptism have put Him on. It makes no difference whether you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a freeman, a man or a woman, because in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King, you are all one. Since you belong to Him and are now subject to His power, you are the descendant of Abraham and the heir of God’s glory according to the promise.
Response in Prayer
O Father, I offer You my heart so that the Holy Spirit will help me understand and live Your truth. One thing I know, dear Father, is that You sent Jesus to save me and include me in Your family. So thank You from the bottom of my heart. I trust that what Jesus did not only paid for my sin but also provided the way for You to make me righteous in Your eyes. May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart and the actions in my daily life show Your character and compassion to people in my world. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.