Paul is continuing to prove out his point on salvation by faith and not by works. In today’s reading he asks his readers to look back at their own experience with the gospel of Jesus. How did they come to know Him?
The believers Paul was writing to where those he met while traveling in his first missionary journey. They weren’t in one specific city but scattered through the lower region of Galatia. During his travels through their cities the Holy Spirit confirmed his teachings with many miracles. There was also the baptism of the Holy Spirit happening in these Gentile believers. These were immediate signs given to them by God of their acceptance into His family.
Paul asks his readers if, “Having begun by the Spirit, are now being perfected by the flesh?” (verse 3). After all they have seen and experienced are they now convinced that what they received was given to them in error? Did God get things turned around?
When we have any kind of work done at our house my husband insists that I don’t pay until the work is complete. God used that same payment schedule with us. He had Jesus mark “Paid in Full” as soon as we had completed the requirement He set down for salvation; repentance and faith in Jesus. THAT was the requirement.
If God would have required us to receive salvation by works NO ONE would have any hope. Nor would anyone have any assurance. Every moment of our lives would be spent in wonder if we had done enough. Jesus couldn’t have even promised the thief on the cross that he would be in paradise. After all, he didn’t have time to get his works in order after that point.
God stamped “Paid in Full” because of Jesus’ works, NOT ours! I have earned nothing and nothing I can ever do can repay Him for what He paid for me.
Paul also emphasizes to his readers that it wasn’t a birthright that made Abraham receive the covenant. Abraham wasn’t even an Israelite. That designation of people wouldn’t exist for at least another three generations. Abraham was the biological grandfather of the man God used as the name for His people but he was just as “Gentile” as anyone else when God called him.
I honestly don’t know what it was specifically about Abraham that prompted God to choose him. He was as fallible as the rest of us. He even passed his wife off as his sister on TWO separate occasions. The first one was before God made a lasting covenant with him but the second one was after! If that’s not an “oops” I don’t know what is. But his works didn’t nullify the promise God gave him. His faith in God’s promise was what moved God to stamp him with His seal of approval. That same faith is what moves God to stamp us with that same seal.
Thank You Father that I don’t have to live in fear of not being good enough. Thank You that I don’t have to cringe and duck every time I miss the mark. It reminds me of building a domino line. One wrong move and everything you already did is destroyed and you have to start again. But that is not how You see me. You placed me on a firm foundation that WILL NOT FAIL. You hold me securely in the palm of Your hand. All because of what Jesus did. Not because of what I did but because of what Jesus did for me. Remind me of this every time I forget or begin to judge others for their walk. My walk impacts my rewards but my future is secure in You through Jesus.