I often see Christians confused between the way they were saved and the way they are called to grow in Christ. The confusion comes when they act as if the means of their salvation and the process of their sanctification are different. In Galatians 3:3 Paul asks, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” What he is asking is: If you know that you were not saved by obedience and morality, what makes you think that your obedience and morality impress God now that you are saved? Furthermore, what reason do you have to believe that you grow in Christ in any way other than how you were saved by Christ?
This confusion leads to two main problems. First, many people never actually become Christians, because they are confused about what it means to be one. Namely, that you trust in the cross of Jesus Christ to rescue you from your sin. The second problem is that Christians do not grow because they are confused by how to grow. What was happening among the Galatians is that they foolishly returned to their old ways of living—prior to their conversion—trying to earn God’s favor, hopelessly believing that is how they would grow closer to Him.
Christians today are prone to that same rationale, if it can be called that. Whether it seems too simple to be saved by faith in Christ alone or we remain proud and try to save ourselves, we do not embrace the grace of God and the freedom that is ours in Christ. That is what Galatians 3:1-9 is all about. Through it we know what it means to be blessed by God and are told how we grow closer to Him. After a great Sunday emphasizing our global mission efforts, I hope you will be in church this week as we resume our series through Galatians. This letter that helps us take a firm grip of the Gospel is a gift to all Christians.