I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
I read recently that Cheryl Cole is returning to the X Factor next series. Simon Cowell has managed to lure her back with an unfeasibly large salary. He suspects that this will win back all the show’s viewers that have recently detracted to Strictly Come Dancing. Not me, though. I don’t understand shows like the X Factor at all. It seems to be that the whole affair just gets dragged out more and more. I’ve often proposed that they could simply pick the best singer in the first week, and then we’d get back the rest of our lives. I actually think sometimes that this is in fact what happens; Cowell and his cronies select the best all-round package and develop them, priming them ready to release on an unsuspecting public. I’m told that this is a cynical view to take, however. Surely if the winner had been chosen in advance it would make a mockery of all the interminable preceding rounds.
In our passage today, Paul continues to educate the Galatians about the significance of Christ. He has tried to ensure that they understand that whilst the law of Moses can help us to identify our sin, it cannot take it away from us. We cannot find righteousness – that is, being right with God – simply by sticking to the words of the law. If we could be, then there would have been no point in Jesus dying on the cross. If our sin had already been lifted from us through the law, then Jesus would not have had to bear it on his shoulders on the cross. As a final way of telling his readers that salvation only comes through Christ, Paul shows up how utterly pointless Jesus’ death would have been if we had already been made righteous through following the law.
These verses are a warning to us; we cannot make ourselves righteous simply by following the law. If we want to be right with God, the only way – the one and only way – is to put our trust in Christ Jesus as saviour. This is cause for happiness, since if we were reliant on ourselves to make ourselves righteous, we would fail every time. It should also inform our evangelism as we speak to those who state they are good people, therefore God will accept them into heaven.
Give thanks today that Christ died in order that we might gain righteousness through his death. If it was not for him, we would be destined to spend a bleak and dark life on earth before dying an eternal death. Instead we have cause for jubilation, because Jesus has made us righteous!