“Tell me this one thing; did you receive God’s Spirit by doing what the law requires or by hearing the gospel and believing it?”
Gal 3:2 GNB
The religion of works is all pervasive. Even two thousand years after Christ, people still disregard the teaching of Paul and happily go on trusting in their “works”, which is how well they behave and whether they keep out of trouble.
Paul was fed up with the Galatian Christians. Those false teachers who were coming in behind Paul’s back were queering his pitch. And they were destroying the Galatians’ faith. Most new Christians in those days received the Holy Spirit when they believed. It brought them an infusion of peace, love and joy. So, says Paul, “Did you get this by believing the gospel and giving your lives to Christ or by conforming to the law of Judaism?” He knew the answer. The way of the law, i.e. the way of works, led to frustration and guilt. It made for an empty, tiresome battle with one’s own lower nature. It finished up with people getting depressed because their failure diminished their self-image. It led to people experiencing futility and disbelief. Many just gave up trying.
“This is the difference between the way of the gospel and the way of the law: the law says ‘Do this’; the gospel says ‘Christ has done it all’. The law requires works of human achievement; the gospel requires faith in Christ’s achievement. The law makes demands and bids us obey; the gospel brings promises and bids us believe. So the law and the gospel are contrary to one another” (J. Stott, The Message of Galatians, p71).
Have faith and believe in Jesus and what he has done for you.
Lord, I trust you, and you alone.