14th October 2023
Read (Romans 13v8-10 & Galatians 3)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
In my last devotion we considered that the Christian owes a debt of love to his/her neighbour and should strive for a life of obedience to Gods' moral law. This law is seen in the Ten Commandments but can be summarised by the "Golden Rule" to love God and to love your neighbour.
It is not my goal to offer "another Gospel" in these devotions. No one can be saved by observing the law. How is anyone saved? It is not by human work but instead by an extraordinary work of the Holy Spirit. Salvation does not happen unless the Spirit works and raises a spiritually dead individual to life. That individual is born again and with a new will freely chooses Christ as Saviour. Salvation is all of God and all of grace.
Individuals who seek salvation by the works of the law may be sincere but they are sincerely wrong. Indeed the Scriptures say that such a person is under a curse (Galatians 3v10). What is this curse? If you walk the path of law observance then you must do everything required by the Law every single day (Galatians 3v12). Imagine that burden. Imagine every waking moment striving to keep the Law of God. Imagine having to watch every action, every word and every thought. Salvation by works is impossible. No one can be justified before God by the law (Galatians 3v11). The righteous shall live by faith.
But there was One who kept the Law fully. Jesus actively obeyed the Law's demands and Jesus passively received the Law's punishments. Jesus became a curse for us in fulfilment of Scripture by being hanged upon a tree (Galatians 3v13). It is by Christ that the promise made to Abraham has been fulfilled. Jew and Gentile alike must be saved and it is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone.
The Covenant of Grace was proclaimed in Genesis 3 and later reiterated to Abraham. This Covenant was in place long before the Law was republished at Mount Sinai (Galatians 3v17). Paul's point is that the blessings to Abraham and his offspring were given by a promise not by works (Galatians 3v18). The Law did not annul the Covenant of Grace or add to it (Galatians 3v15). The Gospel is all of grace.
So what is the purpose of God's law? It has a threefold use in the Christian's life. Paul stated that the law was added because of transgressions (Galatians 3v19). In other words, the law shows us our sin and in turn it displays the holiness of God. The law is not evil or contrary to the promises of God (Galatians 3v21). It acts as a restraint of sin and it instructs us in what is good and pleasing to Almighty God. Finally, the law acted like a guardian until the arrival of Abraham's offspring who is Christ (Galatians 3v24). The law makes us realise our inability to please God and it causes us to run to Jesus.
As Christians we should seek to know God's law and love it. We remain bound by the demands of God's moral law but we must never allow ourselves or others to add law observance to the Gospel of grace. Now that faith has come we are not under the guardianship of the law (Galatians 3v25) for in Christ we are sons and daughters of God by faith (Galatians 3v26).
It doesn't matter who you are or your background. Jews, Greeks, slaves, free, male and female can only be saved by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. The righteous shall live by faith and they are made one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3v28). Abraham was not given a gospel of works for that would be no gospel at all. Instead father Abraham heard the good news that a Saviour would come and meet the law's demands. Christ is that Saviour and He has set us free from the curse of the law.
If you are tired of trying to save yourself and if you are well aware of your inability to keep the law of God then remind yourself of the good news. Christ has done it all. As you have received Him as your Saviour, rest in His finished work and respond to it every day by loving your neighbour.
Q70 What is the seventh commandment? The seventh commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery.