Pastor Paul Rieger
By Grace You Have Been Saved
The Book of Galatians
So I recently changed my schedule to make Fridays, which are my slow days, my study day. I was recommended a new translation of Luther’s commentary on Galatians, so I picked it up and decided to start first with the book of Galatians.
Why has it been so long since I’ve read Galatians!? It was so good. I mean, I know God’s Word is good, but for some reason this one hit me. Paul in Galatians is dealing with the churches of Galatia and how their people are being led astray. The people are being led to trust in themselves and to follow the Jewish laws. Do we need to follow the rules and traditions of the Jews in order to receive the Messiah? Paul says, no, instead follow Christ. What does Christ require of us in order to receive what He brings us? Nothing.
Galatians Shows Grace
Galatians is all about grace, all about how we are made God’s children through faith, all about how we have freedom in Christ. It’s no surprise that Luther picks up on this in the time of the Reformation. In his day the church was all law, focusing solely on how each person must earn their favor with God. Good thing we don’t struggle with that anymore, right? Wrong. We continually struggle with grace. It is such a foreign concept to our sinful hearts. Why would God give me His Son? Why would Jesus die in my place? Why would He do this simply because He loves me? Why? The problem with grace is that it doesn’t make sense to us. It’s strange, confusing. And one of the biggest challenges of the Christian life is to live in grace.
It’s Not About Us
Paul says in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” To earn a paycheck, you have to work for it. To earn really anything in this world, you have to work for it. But not to get God’s grace and favor. You simply need faith, and the crazy thing is that God even gives faith to you as well!
Living In Grace
The Spirit is at work in the hearts of all mankind, calling them to God’s grace. No matter the status of the person, the sins they might have committed, or the feelings in their heart. God is calling them. So finally, I am calling you to live in that grace. To live in grace means that you understand the salvation you have been given and you do not allow yourself to live in guilt (that’s one I need to work on…).
And then the second part of grace is to live it by being lovingly forgiving, not holding on to hurt but lifting up people in love and forgiveness. Easier than it sounds, I know. But that too is the work of the Spirit in our lives to move us to be this way. As God has forgiven you, He too has made it possible for you to live in His grace.