Galatians: Day 5

Only By Faith

by

Today's Text: Galatians 3:1-14, Genesis 15:1-21, Habakkuk 2:4, John 8:56, 2 Corinthians 5:7

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.

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  • That’s quite a good little analogy!

  • SHAMEKAMICHELLE

    I understand that only Jesus can take away my sins and I’m so thankful for Him. I’m learning the more love I have for Him the more I want to do what is right and over time I begin to sin less. I remember listening to Joyce Meyer and she stated “You will never become sinless, but you will begin to sin less.” I feel completely drawn into Christ the more I write in my prayer journal, study my devotionals, and pray. I desire to become more and more like Christ daily :)

  • Late for this one but I find the message so moving. Jesus who has no sin takes away my sin. I can’t remove the sin no matter how hard I work. I love the metal detector analogy.

  • I am at a place in my life where my past sins are stopping me from doing some things the Lord is calling me to do. This grace message is coming at me from every direction and I may actually need to listen! Lol Everywhere I turn I am being reminded that before time began God knew every thing I would ever do wrong and sent Jesus to die to pay my debt anyway. There is no earning it there is only accepting it as the undeserved gift that it is.

  • One thought that really stuck out to me after reading this post (in line with some of the earlier devotions), is that we are saved by grace and kept through faith. Jesus became the curse so we were not condemned – such grace we can never replicate or repay, and then as long as we have faith in that and live by it, we are counted as righteous and heirs to blessings.

    For me this Galatians study has really highlighted the integral link between grace & faith that I’ve often overlooked. When we lose faith, it’s often because we’ve lost sight of the magnitude of His grace or simply not believed in it or thought we could earn it.

    For me the thought that I have no ability to earn grace, it just is, has been so empowering & like a load off my chest. And then faith in that grace leads to righteousness & blessings ? That’s an unbeatable offer right there. Thank God for Jesus! x

    • AMWalley

      That is such a true statement that you pointed out that losing faith is often a direct link to losing sight of grace. It has been cool to see that connection in this study. Thanks for sharing!

  • What a wonderful gift you have! You are truly blessed with getting the true gospel to people.
    Thank you for sharing and helping people truly understand.

  • love the story, so cute!

  • mens knit hats

    Very well written post. It will be beneficial to everyone who employess it, including me. Keep up the good work – i will definitely read more posts.

  • Tiffany K

    I am always trying so hard to be a “good person” who is like oh my goodness do I look ok, do I fit in, I don’t want to stand out and sometimes I forget the truth behind salvation. The church I grew up in was very much, if you don’t follow all the Laws of the Bible you are unworthy and this study has be so refreshing knowing that I am worthy that God loves me regardless!

  • I needed this so much today. I feel like God uses these devotionals in my life so frequently that I can’t imagine not reading them when I do.

  • I needed to read this today- this is definitely me. I strive so hard to be a good person- or a good wife, or a good mom or a good teacher- that I stop being a real person. And lately I have been so aware of my shortcomings as wife and mother that I have been disheartened. This verse is a good one to hold on to “Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law or by hearing with faith?”

    The voice of the Spirit, of Jesus, is so quiet that I can’t hear him over everyone else’s and my own loud jingle-jangle voice. On a daily basis, I value action over communing with Christ, and to sit and be still and take a hold of his quiet promises is a miracle and an act of faith.

    • Megan Shoe

      Yes! I hear you! Checking things off on my to do list is a higher priority than spending time with Jesus, and I need to remember that it needs to be the other way around!

    • Laura

      Amen Abby!

  • Kasey Summers

    Love this! Christ paid it all for us! Praise be to Him who has gloriously triumphed over all our sin!! We are the Victors because of Christ!

  • Rachel Lynn

    I grew up in a Christian home and that was all I knew. I know in my heart what it is to be saved, but sometimes my head forgets. It's so hard sometimes to remember the truth behind salvation. The church I grew up in was always so oriented on what you had to to….there was so much judgement if you weren't involved in a ministry, if you didn't go to all three weekly services, if you didn't on and on. I've been aware of SRT for the last year, but just decided i needed to really dive in. Starting here with Galatians and the reminder of salvation's truth has been so refreshing.

  • Loved the analogy of going through security. So thankful Jesus lets me go with Him!

  • Thank you Jesus for taking ALL of my sin and giving me ALL of your righteousness! Help me to live each day by faith alone.

  • purpleslobinrecovery

    I love this- Tornado Kaitlin- haha!
    True, that, Jesus is our only Hope and Source,and cure for sin.

  • A prayer request dear sisters. I asked for prayer about two months ago regarding a conflict between me and my family and my husband and in-laws. As far as I can see, my parents were lied to and falsely accused by my husband's brother who is also our pastor. This ordeal is still ongoing and causing me and my family so much pain and anxiety. I want to protect my marriage first, but I also want to stand up to defend my mom who is at the very center of these accusations. Please pray for wisdom for me and my husband, strength to do what is right, peace in my marriage, encouragement to my family, and joy for all despite these trials.

    • churchmouse

      My two cents is that your husband should approach his brother and strive to get to the truth. Your pastor /brother in law is causing discord in your family and so your husband should consider stepping in to seek reconciliation. I’ll be praying that the truth is revealed and those who are involved will be held accountable. There is to be unity in the Body.

      • Courtney

        Thank you so much for the prayer. I agree with you in how you said it should be handled. The problem is that my husband would rather not get involved at all. I know he thinks it’s the right thing so I am just trying to submit to him joyfully and praying and praying that God will show us the truth and how to handle it. Again, thanks so much for the prayer.

  • Brendasan01

    http://youtu.be/wU3qgPn3bGA

    This song speaks volumes.

  • KLeighWilson

    "Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?"

    Hmmm..no, that's definitely not me. I am being perfected by the Spirit, not my flesh.

    At least that's how I like to think. It's funny how immune we can become to our tendencies to perfect ourselves. Since I was a little girl, I've wanted to please my teachers, my mom, my friends. When I did what was right and good, I was rewarded, some tangible rewards, others immaterial. Either way, I knew I was assured a certain outcome if I did or had x,y, and z. Outward behaviors are necessary when it comes to respecting your teacher, getting a job, or making your parents lives easier, but outward appearances get us nowhere with the one who truly matters. He is about the sincerity of my heart.

    Thank you Lord that you are completely set apart from the way the rest of the world works. Thank you for looking past our unfaithfulness, shame, and faulty attitudes. Thank you that your perfection has been imputed to us! There is no greater gift!

  • Caroline

    So thankful He makes us righteous because of who HE is. He really is just amazing. So in awe that He doesn't keep record of wrongs, but loves us even more despite of who we are !
    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • Great writing, Kaitlin! Aa if sorting out Galatians isn't awesome enough, any devotional that begins with "packing is not one of my spiritual gifts" has my full "amen"! :)

  • HelenWalksinAwe

    I've been reading The Jesus Prayer: The Ancient Desert Prayer that Tunes the Heart to God by Frederica Mathewes Green (very interesting so far– I'm getting some good tidbits). One connection between that and the reflection and the scriptures for today is that Mathewes reminds us that while Jesus has won us our salvation through grace alone, and even if we accept Jesus as our Christ and Savior, each moment we have a choice to turn toward him or away from him.

    When I think of it that way, that in each moment I can make choices to bring God pleasure, turn toward Him, be a little spark of joy to delight Him, to reflect His love out into the world and multiply it… it goes beyond any law, but it DOES connect to action, action that, in my own small way tries to bring His kingdom to life on earth.

    (full disclosure: I fail a lot, but you know, we're all works in progress and it helps just to know what we're working toward.)

    • Malissa

      Love your thoughts on this, Helen. Every moment really does have the opportunity for speaking truth or praise or walking worthy.
      And thanks for mentioning that book. I’m going to check it out!

  • Jesus laid down his life for us. Walked into harms way for us.

    With today being 9/11, I cannot help but think about all those (fireman, policeman, coworkers etc.), that ran into harms way on behalf of their fellow man.

    **Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for his friends. John 15:13
    We thank you, Jesus.

  • "We cannot ignore the gift of His fulfillment by pretending our works should merit the same prize." This is so poignant! When we try to "do" something to make ourselves better or earn maybe just a little piece of our salvation, this is what we are doing: pretending our works are as good as what Jesus did on the cross. That can never be true. We just need to realize that our "striving" is fruitless and meaningless compared to the completeness of Jesus' work. But when we accept Jesus' work for us at the cross, then we can be empowered by His Holy Spirit and the fruit of His labor THRU us, produces MUCH good. God is so cool like that. He lets us participate in His work after we get the fact that it's all Him.

  • I love the idea of Jesus going through security on our behalf, the knowledge that we don’t have to clean ourselves up but put on His righteousness. I just heard the Genesis 15 passage taught where God makes this covenant with Abraham. Normally, both parties would have walked between the sacrificed animals to show their commitment. In this passage, “a smoking pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.” The pre-incarnate Christ walked between the sacrifices, made the covenant complete without any action on Abraham’s part. His covenant with Abraham extends to us! Our part is only faith. Thank you, Kaitlin, for the fantastic illustration today!

  • Jesus died so that by our believing we could receive the Spirit that God promised. I praise God that he knew me so well, that he sent His to die in my place. The scripture, the lesson, and your comments have blessed me this day.

  • I love the metaphor used in this message. So very appropriate and true. I definitely want to take this message to heart today.

  • Pam Seipp

    It is so nice to remember that that those of faith are blessed! Thank you for providing both Biblical background and personal illustrations!

  • smithwendy62

    That is such a great illustration and really paints a picture of the scripture. Thank you!

  • churchmouse

    I know that I’m saved by faith, that works flow forth from my faith because I love the Lord and am so grateful for what He has done. Yet I’m disheartened by my lack of consistently demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit. Old habits are hard to break. The old nature reveals itself time and again. I get discouraged because it’s not only a poor witness, it is unattractive for drawing others to Christ. So… I daily go back to the Cross to remind myself that He did enough and that my ‘working out my salvation’ is a work in progress. You too?

    • Christy

      Yes! I definitely notice my fruit is a bit rotten especially when I’ve not taken the time to rest in the Word and abide in His presence as I need to. Then I repent and believe again – would be nice if I could break that cycle!! Thankfully He always receives me back…!!

    • Alexis C.

      Always! The recognition of our errors, confessing those and trying harder the next day . We can only be strengthened by coming daily to Him.

    • Bri

      So much same. Philippians 1:6 says "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." It's been my rock recently. I get really discouraged with the repetition of my sin and I can't seem to escape it. But it is Christ alone who makes me righteous. Still trying to believe this myself.

  • “We cannot ignore the gift of His fulfillment by pretending our works should merit the same prize.” BOOM! Well said. Thank you.

  • Fabulous analogy, Kaitlin! So thankful for this truth – and YOU.

  • A couple of days ago my middle child came running into the house to call me outside. She had found something she thought extraordinary and wanted to share it. I headed out the door and she was off quickly before me. When I caught up with her on the sidewalk, she pointed to a branch on our neighbor's tree. On it was an odd caterpillar. One I had never seen before, but one that captivated both she and I with its appearance and its reaction to us. Typically these little critters are oblivious to us, but this guy actually monitored our reactions, watching us and shifting his position as we turned the branch to get a better look. He was unsightly, but at the same time marvelous. My girl knew I would be transfixed and that I would work to find out just what type of bugger he was. She knows that butterflies/moths are a big deal to me. Turns out his name is literally a question mark. Once it is time to become a butterfly that is what he will be, a fantastic question mark butterfly.

    I have always been enamored with butterflies because of their transformation. Early on in my faith, I thought of their change like ours in Christ. We should go through such a great transformation once we have accepted Christ that we are unrecognizable in our old behaviors. We emerge new and beautiful and different. This butterfly won't spend his days trying to become a caterpillar again. He will give flight daily to his amazing wings accepting by instinct his new self and release any idea of who he once was. He lives as a butterfly because he IS one! Our default tendencies have us crawling back into caterpillar mode. Why do we so easily forget our transformation and fall into a law based living again. Our works don't/won't save us … the grace of God, Jesus' work, already has. We need to know instinctively, by faith, that grace transformed us. We no longer align ourselves to a dutiful crawler, working our way through the world, allowing our "doing" to weigh us down and keep us grounded. We were meant to exchange our works with grace so that we could soar light as fascinating aerialists, free from the gravity of this world, of ourselves, lifting our wings and praises to heaven in a beautiful expression of thanks! ~ B

    • Candacejo

      Love that! "He won't spend his days trying to become a caterpillar again." Lord, help us to realize the transformation that has taken place because of Your grace and YOUR work on Calvary. Amen!

    • Zuriel

      Beautiful! Thanks for sharing so eloquently. :)
      -Zuri

    • smallworldtn

      " He will give flight daily to his amazing wings accepting by instinct his new self and release any idea of who he once was. He lives as a butterfly because he IS one!" Beautiful! What a great image.

    • Lyle

      Beautiful! I don’t want to live today in “caterpillar mode”! Thank you for the fantastic illustration.

    • Shelia

      Your life stories and comments always paint such a beautiful picture of the scriptures. Thanks so much for sharing your life on here. I look forward to reading your posts each day.

    • MNmomma (heather)

      Help me to soar Lord the way you intended…..truly embracing and living my life honoring you and the grace you have given me.

    • shannacrowell

      Beautiful! Love this illustration!

    • Jenny

      That is good stuff! Thank you for sharing!

    • Leenda324

      Love this.

    • Rebekah

      B, I love this analogy! Thank you for sharing. My son is 6 and has recently expressed a interest in becoming saved and baptized. I have been teaching him about what it meams to be saved and baptized , making sure at his young age he understands and doesnt just make the choice because he sees other kids at church being baptized. He will love this caterpillar into butterfly explanation!

    • Gabriella

      This is so beautiful and truly had me almost in tears!

    • tina

      I love this….so so beautiful said …And put….

      Living by faith in who I am and have become because of Jesus.. No need to look back, or even turn back…just look to Jesus in faith….Amen…

      Thank you -B…xxxxxxxx

  • Candacejo

    I think I have a target on me somewhere for I inevitably am "chosen" for special treatment every time I go through security. They like me! No, not necessarily, I just happen to set off the "beepers" every. single. time. Once it was a plate in the bottom of my sandals (you can tell how long ago that was) once it was a clip in my hair "Please take your hair down, ma'am." Seriously? You'll be sorry! And more than once it was something I had forgotten was in a pocket. Yikes.

    But God. He doesn't leave me with my sin!! Nor must I "do" the works of the Law to get things right. I don't have to repent ten times….He heard me the first! I come in faith believing that He is who He said He is…He did what He said He would do and it is then my turn to accept His free Grace and Mercy.

    We make it so hard!

    Thank you for this gentle reminder that "Faith is our only justification, and the same blessing that was Abraham’s is also ours through faith." Blessings on this somber Friday as we remember and pray for our country. ♥

    • ~ B ~

      Right there with you, my friend. When my career had me traveling every three weeks, I ongoingly spent extra time with extended searches….even a family trip to Disneyworld had security pulling my family aside so they could show extra love my way. It became a running joke. ~ B

  • Kelly_Smith

    What a great visual, Kaitlin! I always hold my breath, hoping that I get through that detector without a beep. Thank you, Jesus, for the confidence in your redeeming work! He took on all of my sins, leaving me with the assurance that I can get through without a beep! It is hard to rest in the promise of grace and mercy. I try to add to it. Galatians keeps drumming the rhythm of faith apart from works. I'm getting it. It is sinking in.

  • Today’s teaching is really good. It was quite easy to understand. I enjoyed it.

    Learning about God’s Grace is giving my life freedom – knowing that I’m not under any law and nothing can separate me from the love of God. HalleluJah.

    Have a great weekend all.

  • RIP all those who lost their lives 9/11. I Pray God gives their families peace.

    • Angela

      Has anyone else seen the pictures of the rainbow that originated from the World Trade Center site yesterday? What a fantastic visual reminder that God is still on the throne watching over this chaotic, fallen world!

      • SheReadsTruth

        Angela, YES I have seen it! What a sweet reminder of His goodness! Blessings to you today, friend!

        xoxo-Kaitlin

      • Joanna

        It was so comforting to see that image. I’ve been praying for those first responders who are now ill, as well as those without faith who had a scientific explanation for the rainbow.

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