For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation].
EPHESIANS 2:8-9 AMP
Good Morning! I have been a little under the weather and haven’t posted much this week. I tried my hand at Teledoc on Wednesday, and I’ve been trying to rest up. Although I’m not feeling my best, I miss sharing with my blogging family. It’s a beautiful day here, and I might eat my tacos outside in the sun today.
I’ve been studying the book of Galatians, which I have found to be entangled with Romans and Acts. What I’m trying to say is the Books work together to help us understand. A few months ago I took a class about the blood covenant. During that time I was like a sponge reading and attempting to understand all about the covenant. I thoroughly enjoyed the study and learned more than I ever imagined. Yet, there was one thing I didn’t understand until yesterday. My professor said God is “a blood covenant God”. I get the whole idea of the blood being the life force, but what I couldn’t understand is why killing occurred to atone, or cover sins, and in the case of Christ, redeem us from sin, so that it no longer exists.
If you remember the story of Cain and Able in Genesis chapter Four, Cain managed the crops and Able managed the farm animals. There were rules for offerings and God was not happy when Cain offered the fruits of his work. However, God was happy with Able’s animal sacrifice. I understood that Cain didn’t follow the law that was in place at that time, but what I just couldn’t understand was why a death had to occur.
So yesterday I was reading the book of Galatians. Through the sacrifices Christ made, gentiles were accepted by faith under the new law. The word “gentiles” was synonymous to “sinners”. So, the Jews, who were now Christians, wanted to have some rules for behavior. (I’m over simplifying to explain what I learned. There were a lot of things going on and it was dangerous to be a Christian. ) While Paul was away from the region of Galatia, the Judaizers were teaching the old law to the Gentiles. There is a meeting and discussion that takes place about whether the Gentiles need to be circumcised. That’s when the Holy Spirit gave me my “aha”moment. When I have these moments, it always seems earth shattering , but when I begin to explain my new-found understanding, it seems like I should have gotten it all along.
Under the old law, animal sacrifices covered or atoned for sin. Therefore, the penalty for sin was death. No one except Christ was able to keep the old law. Think of the death and blood loss. I’m not a vegetarian, but this was profound for me because it seems that many animals are self-aware. I grew up on my grandmother’s farm and deliberately avoided making pets out of the farm animals. The good news that Paul was trying to explain is that Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross, His death, took away the need for further death. Not only is our sin covered, but it is wiped away when we believe. That puts His sacrifices into perspective for me. I hope this brought you new-found awareness, too.
Remember that Grace is not a license to sin. As Christians we want to please God and are given the power to overcome sin through the Spirit of God. Have a wonderful Saturday! God bless you.