GALATIANS 3:1-7: “O foolish Galatians, who cast a spell on you? Before your eyes Yeshua the Messiah was clearly portrayed as crucified. I want to find out just one thing from you: did you receive the Ruach by deeds based on Torah, or by hearing based on trust? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Ruach, will you now reach the goal in the flesh? Did you endure so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? So then, the One who gives you the Ruach and works miracles among you—does He do it because of your deeds based on Torah or your hearing based on trust and faithfulness? Just as Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” know then that those who have faith are children of Abraham.” TLV
OBSERVATION: Is simply trusting God enough? The answer may seem to be obvious. However, our actions in times of trial and crisis show that the answer is not as obvious as it appears. We proclaim one thing with our mouth, and we do the exact opposite with our actions.
Paul is writing to the Galatian believers who were being led away from the purity of faith. False teachers had infiltrated this new church and were proclaiming that faith was not sufficient, they needed to also follow the Torah (the Law). Faith may have been a good start, but if they were really serious about growing in Christ, and walking in the miracle power of God, they needed to begin following the Old Testament Law.
This may not seem like a contemporary problem at first sight. Yet, all one needs to do is walk down the isle of a Christian bookstore, or turn on one of the local Christian television stations, and you will find the same error being propagated with a new twist. This error can be called Jesus – plus. Jesus plus the five steps to your healing. Jesus plus the 10 keys to your financial freedom. Jesus plus worshipping on a certain day and following a certain diet. And the list goes on and on.
Please understand that I am not throwing every Christian author and every Christian television show under the bus. This would be the height of ignorance and foolishness. However, I am simply trying to pull away the curtain to show how easy it is for people to replace a simple faith in Jesus with a system. The author may not even have had this as their intent. Yet, there is something in our nature that always hungers for a system, a codified program that we can follow and trust in. To simply trust in God runs against everything within our nature, our old nature.
Yet, that is exactly what Paul is calling the Galatians (and us) to do. He reminds them that they were saved by faith and received the Spirit by faith. They had no part in this, other than to place their full trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. He now asks them about their growth in Christ, and the outworking of His miraculous power in their lives. Will it be any different? Do they need to add some steps to it? Is an observance of the Law (any program or steps) necessary for God to work in their lives?
His answer is a resounding – NO!
If we are saved by faith, filled with the Spirit by faith, then our growth, healing, and perfection in Jesus Christ will come the same way. In fact, when we move from faith to works we nullify the very power God in our lives. Abraham believed God and he was accounted as righteous before God through faith. When we refuse to move from our position of trusting, we too are the children of Abraham. When we get embroiled again in the works of the Law, we find ourselves trusting in a system rather than the power of the living God.
My heart breaks when this happens to someone who is desperately ill. I remember sitting at the bedside of a dear saint of God who was dying. They asked me, “I have tried to do everything that I know how to do, why hasn’t the Lord healed me?” They had read all the books, prayed all the prayers, and confessed Scripture after Scripture. I humbly and warmly counseled this person to let go of these questions and simply rest in the loving arms of the Father. I did not have the answer for their question, but I know the One who did. The only safe place to be was in the arms of the all powerful Jehovah Rapha, the Lord our God who heals us!
Think of the story of the disciples struggling in the boat at night. The waves and wind were furious, and Jesus was asleep on the boat. The disciples frantically begin to bail water, to no avail. Knowing they were sinking, they cried out to the Lord. All of their best efforts did not make a dent in their situation. Yet, when they laid down their buckets, when they cried out to Jesus, when works was replaced by sincere faith, Jesus intervened with a mighty “Peace be still!” In one word the Lord changed circumstances that all of their effort could not change.
This truth applies to every area of our lives. It does not mean that we do nothing. It simply means that we do nothing that becomes a replacement to our simple trust in the Lord. When Abraham believed God, God called him to travel to a new land to become a great nation. Faith was met with the call of God, and the call of God was answered with obedience. Simple trust brings us to the place where we will hear the voice of the Lord saying – “This is the way, walk ye in it…”.
Lord, forgive me for all the times I have placed my trust in a system, my works, or someone else other than You. Help me to lay my bucket down and call upon Your Name! Your Name is my strong tower. Today, help me to simply trust in You!
In Jesus Name!