Spending or Defending Our Lives?

Galatians 2:11-21

There are many in the church today who are walking daily in close faith and fellowship with Christ. Taking no confidence in their own work or righteousness, they are nonetheless people of absolute peace because they trust solely in the grace of God...God's saving power. Day by day they receive "Christ's faith" in greater and greater measure, and we can recognize them by the way they are joyfully spending the life Christ has given them in gratitude, sacrifice, and service to others.

There are many in the church who run about constantly crying "Lord, Lord!" but are in fact strangers to the grace of God (Matthew 7:22). We recognize these latter persons by their busy, harried lives, their cluttered spirits, their temperamental nature, and their deep insecurities about God's love for them. Day after day they run out in pursuit of the path of peace...the right mixture of good deeds, proper words, and restrain from evil that will once and for all put them on the right side of God. They are more concerned with avoiding "troublemakers" than serving neighbors, and they are constantly in fear. These poor souls are consumed with defending their lives through their good conduct, but what they seek can never be attained.

To the world outside the church, the "works" done in Jesus' name all tend to look the same, whether those doing them belong to the first group or the latter (and most often, the recipients of the church's ministry and compassion don't really care what's in the heart of the givers). But for Paul, and for all who are being saved, what's in the heart of the Christian makes all the difference.

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