To Follow Jesus
My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.
January/February 2016 Issue – Alive, ‘… because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ’ Ephesians 2:4-5
The text set for today’s reading and meditation:
Galatians 3:1-14 (NIVUK): “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.
I would like to learn just one thing from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh (human effort)? Have you experienced so much in vain – if it really was in vain?
So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? So also Abraham ‘believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’
Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’ So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.’ Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because ‘the righteous will live by faith.’
The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, ‘The person who does these things will live by them.’ Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.’
He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.”
I like the last verse of today’s reading, especially – ‘by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.‘ It’s a gift from God, we don’t need to do a thing to be given this blessing. We hear the same thing in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Today, Selwyn says: “What happened to the believers in Galatia can easily happen to us. Although we start off in the Christian life believing we cannot bring about our own satisfaction, and that fullness of life comes from drawing on God’s resources, we can, without even realising it, begin to move away from dependence on Jesus to dependence on ourselves.”
Even if we lose our way and start to depend on our own resources and strengths – Jesus’ love for us is so great – that He will come looking for us and He will carry us back to His flock. He is the good and faithful Shepherd.
We, in response, show our love for God by following His teaching, which involves the complete submission of our will to His purposes. That is, we follow our Shepherd, and no one else (including the path we may set for ourselves without consulting God first).