- Lesson 9 in the Connect360 unit “A Cry for Freedom: Grace That Is Still Amazing” focuses on Galatians 4:21-31.
Paul was teaching the Galatians if they live by the Law, even if they have trusted in Christ, they are bound in slavery. In verse 28, Paul made the remarkable statement that the Gentiles who trust in Jesus, not the Jews, following the Law, are now the people of God. Paul also identified with the Galatians as “we”—if they feel the waters had been muddied, it was not from Paul. He was the one that first preached the gospel to them.
Paul was not persecuting them through needless, law-keeping commands. He had not told them to put their faith in acts of the flesh. God through the saving work of Christ is the only One that saves, the only One that gives freedom and life. The future is secure not through their check-list legalism, but through the mercy of God. Nothing needed to be added to the gospel in order for the Galatians to grow in grace.
I remember as a teenager, I decided to do something special for my family at Christmas. Every year of my childhood, my grandmother would make homemade candy, like fudge and divinity—carefully cut into squares and placed on wax paper in a tin container for all to enjoy. The only time we were able to enjoy these small, handmade goodies was at Christmas. Once my grandmother was unable to cook due to her age, I tried my hand at this process. I had the recipe; I had watched my grandmother complete the process. How hard could it be?
I followed the recipe carefully, referring back to each step. Candy-making is time consuming, but finally my creation was ready for the big taste test. I bit into that pillowy square of goodness, only to be met with a mouthful of salt. I had made a slight misstep. I read “1 tsp of salt.” Not knowing the difference, I added “1 tbsp” of salt. The whole batch was ruined.
Paul would say that just like putting too much salt in a recipe, so adding adherence to the Law—taking on a legalistic view of salvation—ruins the result. Salvation comes from grace alone. It is not grace and the Law. Or even grace and good behavior or works.
Paul eventually instructed the church in Ephesus, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9). This is a good verse to memorize, which will allow God’s Spirit to recall this verse and remind us anytime we start to compare ourselves to others. We all humbly must remember we are all sinners who find salvation only in God’s amazing grace.
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