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 3:21-29 (ESV)
Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law.22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave[g] nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
The giving of the law seemed contrary to the promise of God that salvation was purely by grace. Is salvation by human effort or by God’s grace? So this is a valid question: Did God mess up? Is God contradicting himself? Paul is saying, “Absolutely not!” Law and grace do not contradict one another, but actually complement one another in God’s plan of salvation for His people. Philip Ryken uses this baseball analogy as an illustration to help us understand this:
“For two glorious summers, the Chicago Cubs taught baseball fans the fundamentals of Reformation theology. First, the Cubs made a trade for Vance Law and started him at third base. Then a few months later, they brought first basemen Mark Grace up from the minor leagues. There they were, right next to each other in the batting order: Law and Grace. They were in the proper order too, first Grace, batting in the fifth position, and then Law. For as Paul explained to the Galatians, God gave grace to Abraham before He gave Moses the law. And there they stood on the baseball diamond – Grace and Law – holding down opposite corners of the infield. Opposing batters would smash the ball to third, where Law would knock it down and throw it over to first for the out. Law to Grace to retire the side. Law and Grace are not opponents; they are teammates working together for the salvation of God’s people. The law leads to grace, which is to be found only in Christ.”
I don’t know if you’ve ever felt the tension between the law and grace, where you felt captivated by the amazing grace given to you, but felt like you had to repay that grace by making sure you follow all the rules. It’s not meant to be that way. It’s always been about grace. The law is not meant to be a vehicle for salvation, but it is meant to reflect our sins to us and redirect us to the grace of God. Again, it is the perfect teammate to grace, working side by side for the salvation of God’s people. Today, be confident in His grace, and hold onto His law, knowing that both are working for your good.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for Your law that not only teaches me how to live this life the right way, but also magnifies Your amazing grace in my life. May I daily seek to meditate upon your word and Your law, knowing that it has been given to me for my benefit.
Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 68
Lunch Break Study
Read Psalm 119:97-104 (ESV): Oh how I love your law! It is my mediation all the day. Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts. I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word. I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore, I hate every false way.
Question to Consider
- What is the psalmist encouraging us to do?
- What are the benefits of holding onto the law of God?
- What is your experience of the law of God? What is your perception of it?
- The psalmist encourages us to meditate on the law of God day and night because it is for our benefit.
- It give us wisdom and understanding. If God created us and designed us, His law is meant to be a manual on how we are to live this life with the most joy and fulfillment.
How do you treat “the law of God?” Do you disregard the law because it’s all about grace? Or have you become legalistic and you are unable to receive or give grace? Tonight, ask God to help you to hold onto the radical middle—understanding that the law and His grace is what works together for our benefit.