By Mike Wallace
“You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace” (Gal. 5:4). (All Scripture quotations are NKJV unless otherwise noted.)
I tried. I tried very hard to get all 1,100 points. I failed. Forty years ago, in college I was a mediocre B- to C+ college student. I never got below a “C” in any class but getting an “A” was a very difficult goal for me to reach, except for history or physical education. Now, 40 years later I am in college again. Time value of growth and maturity certainly play a part as I take college courses again. I am getting great grades this time around.
My most recent college course had 1,100 possible points for a perfect score. With a few days to go I had 900 of 900 possible points. I only needed to submit my final paper, worth 200 points. Could I get all 200 points and run the table for 1,100 out of 1,100? I wrote my paper early. I reread and edited it for 3 full days. I checked it over, reread it again, and decided to submit the paper for the final grade.
NO MATTER HOW HARD I TRIED, I COULD NOT BE PERFECT
Too bad I did not have a second set of eyes to point out my flaws. Little mistakes of punctuation and grammar were overlooked, even after three days of deep searching for error in my paper. Final grade: 191 of 200. Final score in the course: 1,091 of 1,100. No matter how hard I tried, I could not be perfect. Was I trying to be “justified by the law”?
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus….” (Rom. 3:23). We can all do our best to perfectly keep the law of God and we will all FAIL. We are saved ONLY by His grace, His unmerited pardon for our sins of imperfection. Without Jesus we are simply the walking dead.
“Therefore, by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified, in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20). Law keeping does NOT save us from the end of our life. We are the walking dead without Jesus Christ to save us FREELY through His wonderful amazing grace.
ONLY HIS GRACE SAVES US
We can and are only saved from eventual death by the grace of God! Nothing we do by our own works will give us life immortal with Jesus. We cannot add one second to our lives no matter how well we try to keep the law. Only His grace saves us.
Does this mean we can do whatever we want and still be saved? NO! Consider the following verses: “for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the DOERS of the law will be justified:” (Rom. 2:13). “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law” (Rom. 3:31). We keep the ten commandments to honor God and treat our fellow humans with love and respect.
The young person sitting in a group of folks flatly stated he would keep the law and Jesus would save and reward him at His return for how well he had kept the law. How sad for this person, spending an entire lifetime struggling to justify himself before God to be saved from death. “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace” (Gal. 5:4).
WE ARE SAVED BY GRACE, NOT WORKS
We can keep the law as carefully as possible; we can attempt to justify ourselves, but we will still die – we are all “fallen from grace.” “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). Life forever more with Jesus is His gift to us.
We are saved by grace, not works. We DO the law (Ten Commandments) as it is not voided by grace. We are only saved by grace through faith. In my latest college course, I tried to run the table and score 1,100 out of 1,100. I failed. If I had completed my goal, it would not have added one second to my life. We are only saved by His great grace and mercy.
Thank you, Jesus, for your sacrifice on our behalf! Without you and the grace you give us, we are all simply the walking dead.