Don’t set aside God’s grace!
Scripture reading for August 18: Galatians 2
The church of Jesus Christ in Galatia was under attack by Jewish false teachers. They wanted the Gentile believers to be circumcised in order to be a part of the church. Paul explained how he had worked this out with Peter. As Peter traveled to Antioch, he began to separate himself from the Gentiles and refuse to eat with them. He did this out of fear for the Jewish church members who were teaching that all must be circumcised to be right with God. Paul opposed him to his face and confronted him with the truth!
“You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no on will be justified.” (Galatians 2:14-16) The law cannot save anyone–Jew or Gentile. Paul stated plainly that it was by faith alone that any Jew or Gentile would be justified before God.
When a person adds the keeping of any part of the law to faith, they set aside the grace of God and exalt their own works. It is through Christ alone that we receive God’s grace. Paul stated his own faith to clarify this: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, l live by faith in the Son of god, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)