Editor’s Note: The AMI Devotional QT from June 6-12 are written by Phillip Chen, college pastor intern at Church of Southland. Philip, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, is currently studying at Talbot School of Theology. He is married to Esther.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Galatians 3:10-14 (ESV)
For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.
Have you ever tried to use something that it wasn’t designed to do and found it to be incredibly inefficient and frustrating? I was once at a house where the showerhead wasn’t working (or so we thought). I ended up crouching in the tub trying to cup the water that came out of the faucet and splash it on myself to rinse off the soap. It was incredibly inefficient and a lot of water was wasted.
Paul is asking the Galatians: Do you really want to be saved by following the works of the Law? Do you really want to go that route? First of all, if you want to be justified by your works, you need to obey the entirety of the Law, which is impossible for man to do. Second, that’s not what the Law was meant to do. The Law was never meant to be the avenue through which humanity would be justified before God. So then, what is the purpose of the Law? Imagine coming home after a long day of gardening. In the bathroom, you look in the mirror and see how dirty you are. Does looking at the mirror make you clean? Of course not. No matter how intently or how long you look at the mirror, it cannot cleanse you. Instead, you turn on the water to wash your face so that you can be cleansed. The Law is a mirror that reveals the stain of sin that we all have; and only Jesus, who became a curse for us by hanging on that tree, is the one that can cleanse us permanently.
Paul says justification does not come by the law, but by faith in God. For Abraham, it was faith in God’s covenant with him. For the Israelites, it was faith in God’s provision of the Law and the sacrificial system. And now Paul tells us that Jesus is the final and perfect sacrifice upon which we place our faith, so that we might receive the blessing of God and His Spirit. Faith isn’t only for the life to come, but for this life as well. Faith in our own ability to maneuver through life can easily supersede our faith in God. But we come to realize that living a life of faith in God is so crucial because it is the only currency that God honors. Are you living a life of faith in Him? Ask Him increase your faith and He will surely do so.
Prayer: Father God, help me see the ways that I have succumbed to legalism and help me turn from legalism towards your grace. I pray for an extra measure of faith so that I might live this life placing my faith in You rather than my own abilities to be a good person. Help me to take steps of faith, not just for the life to come, but for this life as well. May my faith in You dictate the way I live this life.
 The sacrificial system was actually what would cleanse them from their sins, not the Law.
Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 66
Lunch Break Study
Read Hebrews 11:13-16 (ESV): These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
Question to Consider
- What is the reward of faith?
- What does it mean to have faith in God in this passage?
- Do you believe that God has prepared a heavenly city for you?
- It’s important to note that we will not always see the fruit of our faith in this life time. We might see a promise of God from afar, but may not ending up receiving the fullness of the promise. Nevertheless, we know that faith, particularly faith in God will not let us down.
- They had faith that God was leading them somewhere better. Ultimately, they did not see this earth as their home, a place for them to settle in, but they saw it as a place they were merely passing through. They were able to let go of the things of this earth because they knew that their true home awaited them.
- Often we get distracted by the things of this world, but when we once again realign our purpose and vision to the city of God that awaits us, we will be once again ready to make decisions in this lifetime based upon faith in God.
“Legalism is more subtle and more pervasive and, in the end, more destructive. Satan clothes himself as an angel of light and makes the very commandments of God his base of operations. And the human heart is so inveterately proud and unsubmissive that it often uses religion and morality to express its rebellion. As Romans 10:3 says, ‘In seeking to establish their own righteousness, they would not submit to the righteousness of God.’ The pursuit of righteousness can lead to perdition. So Galatians admonishes us: Know why the law was given and don’t be bewitched into pursuing it in a way that leads to death, but only in a way that leads to life.” – John Piper