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Works - Debt - Death

Works - Debt - Death

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?  This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Galatians 3:1-3 (NKJV)

I presided over a marriage recently for a couple of friends.  It was a private ceremony with just the two of them along with my wife Carol and I.   As I had the bride and groom exchange their vows I was able to look into their eyes and see the truth and honesty in their respective commitments being made to each other.  They loved each other in such a wonderful way.  

As I thought about this I began to think about how different a relationship can be when I see two people in my office who are in need of marriage counseling.  Something happened from the day they made their wedding vows - something causing them to lose their love they once experienced and expressed to each other.

In the beginning of a relationship there is usually an amazing grace displayed by both people.  As time goes by this unmerited favor is eventually replaced by expectation.  When one person doesn't do what the other expects there can be disappointment where there was once grace.  Something has happened in the relationship - the grace has been replaced with works.  

A person who was once loved freely now has to work for this same affection.  They must do something good for the other person if they expect to receive their love.  It's almost as if the agreement is, "If you do something good for me, then I will do something good for you, but if you don't treat me the way I think I need to be treated, then I will treat you the same way."  This means the person being loved is now in debt - attempting to earn the love they should be receiving freely.  If this process continues there will eventually be death in the relationship.  

We can see this same sort of thing happen in our Christian walk and relationship with God if we are not careful.  For instance, when we first came to a saving knowledge of the Gospel message we were flooded by the Love of Jesus in our life.  But if we are not careful we can get caught up into man made religion - beliefs and practices fostering the lie of having to do good works to continue to stay in the grace and favor of God.  In effect we are now in debt to God's love - attempting to earn His love.  Again, this will eventually lead to death.  

We cannot try to become perfect in the flesh - especially since we have already become righteous by the blood of Jesus through the Grace of God.  No one can keep the law perfectly if they are attempting to do so for salvation.  We see this being spoken of in the book of Galatians.

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them." Galatians 3:10 (NKJV)

I want to encourage you to remember this truth - you don't have to work for God's love, He loves you unconditionally.  Now, this should cause us to be filled with joy as we just remain in the covering of His amazing grace and unmerited favor.   I want to encourage you to love others in this same way, regardless of how they treat you.  Don't make others work for your love simply choose to love them in the way God loves you.

STUDY QUESTION: According Galatians 3:1-3,10 what can we learn about attempting to earn God's favor and our salvation?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Do you find yourself not loving others because they have not done enough to merit it?

APPLICATION: Love others in the same way God loves you.

Father, thank You for Your unmerited favor in my life.  Thank You for loving me unconditionally.  Thank You for giving me an example to use to show me how to love others.  Help me to remember this when I choose to hold back my love from those who may have hurt me or who don't show me love.  In Jesus' precious name, amen...

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott

Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000