“I’m a fraud.” “My relationship with God is on the rocks.” “I think I’m failing.” As a pastor, those are statements I hear from time to time from really great people, both new Believers and long standing Believers, who are being really honest about their feelings. Thank God that Christianity is based on our inadequacy rather than our ability.
Maybe you’ve heard statements like that from one of your friends. Actually, there’s a really good chance that you’ve said those statements yourself. You’ve probably felt that God was disappointed in you at some point. You may have felt that you should have known better, but you did something and now you’re wondering if God will accept you back. Thank God that Christianity is based on your inadequacy rather than your ability.
In Galatians 3:1-14 the message is really clear: recognizing your inadequacies equips you for eternity.
1. Your Faith is what becomes your righteousness
Your fellowship with God isn’t based on your ability to do good. It’s based on your recognition that you can’t be good; you’re inadequate because you’re not good enough. We are all sinners who deserve to be judged for our sin.
Your fellowship with God is based on your faith in Jesus – your recognition that you can’t fix what’s broken between you and God, so you’re completely relying on your belief in Jesus to be forgiven and declared righteous.
When you recognize that you are inadequate and you choose to believe in Jesus then you have equipped yourself for eternity.
2. Your self-righteousness is what becomes your curse
Alternatively, some people believe they are adequate. They don’t believe that they stand on faith alone. They believe they stand on their own two feet and will be able to merit something good from God under their own strength.
This idea takes on different shapes in Believers. Some Believers who have been Christians for a long while (maybe 30 or 40 years) seem to believe that they no longer need to stand on faith because they’re faithfulness has reached the level of righteousness. So, they treat others as lowlier than themselves and encourage everyone to be more like them and do what they do. Some other Believers, after having come to faith in Jesus, decide they need to start following part of the Law. So, they stop doing something (like eating pork) or they start doing something that they have decided is Law-ful or godly. In their minds, their activity or inactivity is essential.
Self-righteousness ends in judgment. No one’s adequate before God. Comparing ourselves with people, or even with our past self, is a really bad idea. We are just as dependant on Jesus in our 90th year as a Believer as we are in our first year as a Believer.
If you somehow recognize that you’re adequate, or you believe that your Christianity includes your obligation to follow some other “godly rule,” give your head a shake. Self-righteousness ends in judgment.
3. Your Christian life is about growing a relationship, not striving to earn acceptance
Here’s the good news for all of us who feel like frauds. Our Christianity isn’t about earning acceptance! We’re already accepted.
Jesus died for us while we were enemies of the cross, far away from God. Jesus loved us long before we ever became aware of Him and our need of Him. So, your acceptance isn’t about your lifestyle, it’s about Jesus. He’s accepted you as you are, not because of what you can do, or what you can be trained to do in the future.
Your Christianity is about growing in friendship with God. Every day we learn to grow in our love for God and our love for others. Yes, we fail, but failure isn’t fatal. When we fail we don’t run out of God’s acceptance. We will always be dependent on faith in Jesus, and God will always accept us based on our faith in Jesus.
I’m not suggesting we have a licence to do bad things. That’s just not the point of the passage. Galatians 3:1-14 shows us that righteousness isn’t about our obedience, it’s about our faith in Jesus.
Recognizing your inadequacies will equip you for eternity when you acknowledge that you need to believe in Jesus.
Watch It Now:
To further engage you can watch the 7 minute inductive devotional, and/or you can see how I came to my conclusions by watching the longer inductive study.
7 Minute Inductive Devotional
25 Minute Inductive Study
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