Last night I taught on Galatians 3:1-14 for the Sunday Night Fellowship of Creekstone UNG students. This morning, I marinated my heart in that passage again, and am glad that I did. In verse 5, Paul says, “Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?” Then in verse 9 he hits the nail again, saying, “those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” The word that stuck out for me today is the word faith. It seems almost too elementary to say that everything kind of rests there, but it really does. I will either live in the weakness of my own efforts, or in the strength of God’s grace—the grace to save, sustain and produce his fruit in our lives, homes, ministries, etc. For example, I am having a tendency to get anxious about the funding of the Creekstone mission. The flesh is telling me to work harder, because it is up to me. However, the Spirit is encouraging me to believe harder, because it ultimately is up to him.
This is not some form of spiritual passivity where I let go and let God. Believing is a excruciatingly active endeavor. And yet, if you think about it, the “letting go” concept is not too far off the biblical mark. As James Proctor’s hymn says, “Lay your deadly doing down, down at Jesus’ feet, and stand in him, in him alone— wondrously complete!” So, the heart of the gospel is a letting go of sorts. And yet, when we let go of our ability, whether in justification or sanctification, we experienced the flood of God’s saving and enabling grace. Remember, in Galatians 3, Paul has said that God works among us (present tense) as we believe what we heard about the crucifixion of Jesus as our sin-bearing, righteousness providing substitute. When I consciously abide in the truth of the gospel by faith, I am reminded of my justification, and at the same time, am empowered by the Spirit in sanctification… and God works miracles. Miracles like conversions, repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, love, joy, peace, patience and kindness, not to mention the miracle of funding the mission for the blessing of the nations and the glory of God.
Therefore, what I want today is not just an intellectual faith, but a personal, imtimate faith, to really know Jesus as my sin-bearing, righteousness providing Savior, who is able to do for, in, and through me more than I could ever ask or imagine, due to the presence of the Spirit’s power. So, when the moment comes that I am able to recognize the choice that I have either to live by my own effort or in light of God’s grace, pray that I will choose the latter and experience the blessing of seeing God work in ways that I can’t.