“…know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.”
Galatians 2:16, NIV
Sola fide is Latin for “faith alone.” It was also the only remedy for the legalism that had infected the Galatian churches. Galatians 1:11-2:15 is a little history lesson describing Paul’s struggles against legalism, starting from his conversion. In our verse for today he explains why the battle must be fought. Simply put, “By the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.” Salvation comes through faith alone (sola fide). No one has ever been saved by being good, sincere, self-disciplined, smart, kind, generous, spiritual or religious. The Galatians had forgotten this. What difference does it make? I am glad you asked.
If you believe, at this moment, that God has saved you and promised to bless you because of something you did, then you had better keep doing it. You better perform, because the minute you slip up or grow weary, your peace of mind, if not your very soul, is in jeopardy. Religious people always end up on this treadmill. If, on the other hand, you believe that God has saved you because He is merciful and has covered your sins with the blood of Jesus, then you need not bother with the treadmill. Simply give thanks every day in every way to your gracious Father for the marvelous and free gift of salvation by grace alone.
If you are working to earn God’s favor, then be warned that no one has ever made it to Heaven and many have missed it, by doing exactly what you are doing.
So get off the treadmill! Accept what God has freely given, you can never pay back. Let the good that you do be a joyful, free expression of gratitude towards your Father, who loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you.
QUESTION: What changes do you need to make in your life to start living by faith in Jesus and not your own works?