Isaiah 22:1-25; Galatians 2:17-21; Psalms 60:6-12; Proverbs 16:14-15
NT: “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.” (Galatians 2:20-21 CSB)
When we come to saving faith in Jesus Christ, one of the things that happens is our sinful selves are crucified. The person that we were – the person that was in debt to sin and hopelessly weighed down by the impossible requirements of the law – is put to death. Then the same Spirit that rose Jesus Christ from the dead dwells in us and brings life to our mortal bodies. This is all accomplished by grace through the faith that we have in the Son of God. Everything that needed to be done to pay the debt of sin and satisfy all the requirements of the law was done by Christ when He lovingly gave His life for us. When Jesus said, as He hung dying on the cross, “It is finished,” everything was finished. Nothing else needed to be done for our salvation – by God, by Christ, or even us. When we place saving faith on Christ, we appropriate everything that He did to our lives: we spiritually die the death that He died, the debt that we owed is paid, the legal requirements over our heads are satisfied, we are declared righteous, and we are spiritually raised to a new life that is filled, enlivened and empowered by His Spirit. All of that is graced to us by God because we placed faith in His Son.
A gift as generous and gracious as that is often hard to fully accept. We may think in our minds that we don’t truly deserve such a gift and that we must do something on our end to justify the extravagance. Or we have have thoughts that God didn’t really give me all of that for free… God must expect something from me… He must have some sort of divine tally sheet, and I won’t fully be saved until I check enough things off the list. When we fall into that line of thinking and try to earn our salvation through our own righteousness, we actually reject the gracious gift of God and render Christ’s death on the cross as meaningless.
There is something that God does require of us – but it has nothing to do with the law. It has everything to do with living in the life that Christ won for us. Now that we are in Christ by faith, this is what is required of us: that we consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to Christ, that we die daily to the desires of our flesh and awaken ourselves to the desires that God has for us, that we submit ourselves daily to our Savior, Lord and King, and live in the resurrection power that He fills us with through the Holy Spirit as we honor His words, live according to His ways and accomplish His will. Again, He doesn’t call us to do that in our own strength, but by the grace that He gives us through faith in Him. What we do, we do through Him. The live we live, we live through Him by faith.
Prayer: Lord, what a great salvation You have won for me and given to me as I have placed my faith on You! As others have so eloquently said, it can seem scandalous that I, someone who has been guilty of sin, would be a recipient of so much grace. Help me to not fall for the lie that I must earn my way into your good graces… that my faith in You isn’t enough… that Your grace isn’t really grace. Lord, instead, help me to fully appropriate all that You have won for me and live fully in the life that You have given me as I die to myself and submit myself fully to You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.