Day 8

Christ, Our Righteous Garment

from the Galatians reading plan


Galatians 3:15-4:7, Genesis 12:1-9, Romans 3:9-26

BY Missy Fuller

I sat on a plush, cream-colored couch with my mentor, helping her fold a basket of laundry while her two-year-old played on the floor. Now a senior in college, I was involved in campus ministry and leading a Bible study, and I was happily updating her on both. I had just begun telling a story about a friend, when my mentor calmly interrupted me with a simple, matter-of-fact statement: “Missy, you believe a works-based gospel.”

I was stunned. Was she serious? I quickly wrote it off in the moment. But later that week, I found myself kneeling by the side of my bed, soaking my plaid, purple bedspread with tears.

She was right. How had I not seen it before? How did I not know just how wrong I’d gotten it? There I was, wallowing in my sin, wanting desperately to be back in the loving arms of my Savior. I had asked for forgiveness, but the feeling wasn’t coming. As I poured my guilty conscience onto the pages of my journal, I was hit with one word: time.

That’s what I thought I needed: time. I didn’t really want forgiveness. I wanted time—enough time to fill my life up with the right things, good things, to settle the score. It was salvation by works at its finest.

Finally, it hit me. All my striving, all my desire to put time between myself and my mistakes, it was just another attempt to earn my salvation through works.

Our friends in Galatia were struggling in a similar way. They were working their tails off to inherit the promise of Abraham by keeping the law. They’d gotten stuck in the cycle of self-sufficiency, just like I had. They believed the lie that their actions could bring them salvation.

But Paul tells them that the law was never meant to bring us life (Galatians 3:21). Keeping the commands, doing all the right things, is never going to save us. It can’t. It was never supposed to.

Romans 3:20 reminds us that, “no one will be justified in His sight by the works of the law.” No one. Not the Jews living in Galatia, still strictly following the Old Testament law. Not my rule-abiding, college-aged self, riding on her “good-girl” past and church involvement. No one.

Those things cannot save us and they were never meant to. Christ is the only perfect fulfillment, the only victory we have over sin and death. His perfect life allows us to be justified through our faith alone. Faith and nothing else— just Jesus.

I love Paul’s imagery that we are to “put on Christ like a garment” (Galatians 3:27). Our garments cover us. They change our appearance. They become a way for others to identify us and perceive us. Christ’s sacrifice is what covers us before the Father. His sacrificial love changes who we are and how we live. It changes the way others see us and how we identify ourselves. We are no longer under the curse of the law, but under the freedom of Christ’s redemption.

That spring day in college, I realized Jesus truly is all I need. His sacrifice covered me then despite all my striving, and it still does. He is enough.

I don’t need a spotless record to save me. All I need is Jesus.

Friends, no matter what our past, present, or future hold, the only work that can save us is the one completed with a crown of thorns. May we cling only to Christ, our righteous garment.

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Post Comments (88)

88 thoughts on "Christ, Our Righteous Garment"

  1. Kelly says:

    Im not sure I agree with this. If we look at James 2:14-26 it clearly says faith without works is dead. You cannot be saved by faith alone or by works alone. It is the combination of both and the grace freely given by Jesus which saves us.

    1. Carolyn says:

      I think the distinction here is that we are saved by faith alone, and through that faith our lives will naturally begin to produce fruit and good deeds. If we have salvation and a saving faith, our life will resemble that of Jesus’ and works will naturally occur. But it is not our works or good deeds that earn us salvation. Paul writes in Ephesians 2:8-10 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

      1. Mary says:

        Absolutely Carolyn. Out of our trust in him will come fruit as we grow as long as he is our head. I was raised in a works based faith and I cannot tell you how much pride from some there was in their ‘works’. And then some of us never could get it and always felt the opposite like We were never good enough and praise God this Galatians study has opened my eyes to the truth. I felt so in bondage and oppressed trying to live by works . Always striving and never succeeding in my eyes.

  2. Kersti says:

    Oh I needed to hear this. Jesus help me come to fully understand this!

  3. SHAMEKAMICHELLE says:

    I did not truly understand this until recently. Its great that I am involved and serving; however, it’s not what saves me. I cannot have a “spotless” record. Jesus is all I need. Jesus is enough. God sees me through a blood veil and I’m forgiven. Isn’t that great :) Due to my love for Jesus, I serve and I’m involved to compel lost souls to come to Christ too. I’m not to do it out of obligation because works do not save me. I truly understand why works without faith are dead. Thank God for Jesus!

  4. Bunny says:

    Beautiful post. You are helping me understand the bible. Thank you so much for your wonderful way with words.

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