The week before I do any kind of traveling, my house is under a “Tornado Kaitlin Watch.” Needless to say, packing is not one of my spiritual gifts. The night before a trip, a little outfit-pairing, suitcase-stuffing event occurs, lovingly referred to by my friends as “The Mighty Storm of the Southeast.”
In my mind, I’m an overachieving poster child for The Container Store, arranging my essentials in order of events, color-coding my itinerary, and tucking away my travel-sized toothpaste. In theory, I’ll fill space bags with freshly pressed clothing and zip my way through airport security, the attendants singing my praises.
Realistically, I will never be one of those sweet, fancy, Container Store people.
Realistically, Tornado Kaitlin will triumphantly trot inside the terminal atop my hot pink suitcase.
Realistically, my pocket lint will turn into coins, magnets, and metallic unicorn dust as I approach the body scanner.
Beep. Beep. Beepbeepbeepbeepbeep.
“Ma’am, please empty your pockets and get back in line.”
No matter how I try to conceal it, the leftover debris from my packing storm lingers. Paul has a similar message for the Galatians in chapter 3: we cannot empty our pockets of the jingle of sin.
As he’s writing, the Galatians’ eyes have been opened wide to the truth of the gospel, witnessing God’s love and beholding the newfound concept of grace. But, as Matthew Henry puts it, “As Christians they were Wisdom’s children, yet as corrupt Christians they were foolish children.”
We take in the arrivals and departures of faith, thinking we must rummage through and repackage our sin to make it to our destination. And, friends? The reason it’s foolish is because we never will. Our sin will always set off every alarm in sight, leaving us hopeless and stranded.
Enter Jesus. Standing in line with us, He follows suit, removing His shoes and emptying His pockets, receiving not one beep. He invites us to follow Him, and as we do, the security scanners go crazy with sound, ringing up our infinite number of offenses. We are the guilty ones, yet Christ takes our sins and imputes to us His righteousness.
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.”
- Galatians 3:13
The best part: When we receive the redemption we couldn’t force upon ourselves, Jesus does not send us to the back of the line to rummage through our faults. We don’t even have to go through the checkpoint again! In the same way, Paul is telling the Galatians they don’t have to return to their old reliance on the law.
“Now it is clear that no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous will live by faith. But the law is not based on faith; instead, the one who does these things will live by them.”
- Galatians 3:11-12
I imagine the Galatians staring blankly, caught knee-deep in their old ways once again. But then I see my own stance at the end of the security line, foolishly searching my empty hands to redeem myself. We cannot ignore the gift of His fulfillment by pretending our works should merit the same prize.
Like Abraham who had faith in the unseen promises of God, we and our jingle-jangle pockets can have faith in the promises that are ours in Christ. Faith is our only justification, and the same blessing that was Abraham’s is also ours through faith.
Praise be to Christ, who not only lets us in against our worth (and in spite of our pink suitcases), but grants us His worth as children of the King.