DEVOTIONAL – MAY 28
LAW AND GRACE
Leslie M. John
“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you” (Galatians 4:19)
Paul’s feels as if he was under the travail of child birth to explain to Galatians the difference between law and grace, and how hard it is to be under law rather than accept ‘grace’ alone as the way for salvation. He calls them, now, ‘my little children’, and tries to explain to them about the implications in believing that law and works only would save them.
Galatians were under the erroneous belief that law and works only can save them. They desired to take pride in a list of rules they prescribed for them and thought if they keep the law and rules then they would consider them as perfect. That, in other words, renders a notion that man can earn his own salvation by keeping a set of rules, like being good and doing good etc. These things help men to be good men but would not secure salvation that is available free of cost as a result of belief in the works of Jesus, the Son of God, did for men.
Jesus came down into this world to redeem us from the bondage of sin, and, therefore, took upon himself, our transgressions and died for our sake. The fruits of the Holy Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance. A saved man will have in him the Spirit of God and will have the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
However, possession of these good qualities without accepting Jesus as ‘Lord’ will not make us a man eligible to have eternal life. The only way to have eternal life is to believe in the efficacy of the blood of Jesus Christ and accept the fact that he died in our stead on the cross.
Paul explains to Galatians, just as a matured man explaining to children that all those who believe that law can save them are like those, who are of ‘bondwoman’ and all those who believe in the ‘grace’ of Jesus are like those, who are of free woman. He quotes from Old Testament the things that have happened in Abram’s life as described in Genesis 16th Chapter.
Sarai sent her handmaid, Hagar to sleep with Abram, and a son was born. It was legalism on the part of Sarai and Abram a method that finds a way out for them. Later a son was born to Abraham and his wife Sarah as a consequence of the promise of God to them. This son of the promise of God was of faith in God and His grace.
The son, who was born to Hagar, was of the flesh, and the son born of promise to Sarai, was blessed. The posterity of bondwoman is still under bondage of Mosaic Law and the posterity of the free woman, who is supposed to be free from the bondage of Mosaic Law, have unfortunately, embraced the law and works as their way for salvation, rejected Messiah as their Savior, and is still under the bondage of law.
The legalists still insist that it is right to be under the law and keep the law to be saved. Such legalism will lead to the belief that there is no justification by the grace of God, but their own works will lead them to have eternal life.
“So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free”. (Galatians 4:31)
“Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace”. (Galatians 5:4)