21I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.Galatians 2:21
In what way do I treat the grace of God as meaningless?
I think there are more ways to do that than is possible to count. Anything I rely on in addition to Jesus’ death to cover my sins, to make me right with God –causes me to treat the grace of God as meaningless.
After Paul visited the area of Galatia, sharing the gospel — Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from the evil world in which we live — some people from Jerusalem called Judaizers came behind him and, in essence, told the new Christians Jesus wasn’t enough. Sure, Jesus died on the cross but in order to be right with God the people needed Jesus AND… in this case, circumcision.
It might not be what a person experiences today. But there is plenty of Jesus AND… floating about. Jesus and what I wear. Jesus and the spiritual gifts I receive. Jesus and the songs I sing. Jesus and the way I am baptized. Jesus and church attendance. Jesus and . . .
What comes to your mind when you consider Jesus alone as the way to be right with God? Do you expect more than that from others? Do you feel others expect more than that from you? Do you find yourself defending a “Jesus AND…” position?
For many years I said I believed it was Jesus alone that saved me but I was quick to add extras. Extras that were put on me by others but also extras I adopted on my own. Until it began to suffocate me. I found I couldn’t move or breath. I lost mobility and vitality. Slowly but surely, the life inside me ebbed away and I felt sad, forlorn and lost. The list of requirements was so overwhelming; as much as I tried, I never got it quite right. I knew on the inside I was failing miserably, but I attempted to put on a good front.
Until I couldn’t anymore. Then Paul’s words to the Galatian churches rang like music in my ears!
19For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. 20My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.Galatians 2:19-20
I no longer treat the grace of God as meaningless. It is everything to me. I am made right with God by Jesus’ death on the cross where he paid for my sins. And that ALONE is what makes me righteous. Nothing else. Nothing at all!