Lutheran Home Association Blog

Understand how much  we need God’s grace

Posted on Mon, Sep 25, 2017

Galatians 2:21 “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”               

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At first reading of our verse for this week, you might say or think “I would never want to set aside the grace of God.”.  While we might not want to do this or think we do it, I ask you to reconsider.  Has the thought ever crossed your mind “I’m glad I’m not as bad a person as so and so.” or “I hope God saw what I did and that ought to count for something for me getting into heaven.” or “If God is going to let ____________ into heaven, I’m confident that I’ll be there too.”?

Think about what lies at the heart of each of those comments.  Each of those statements is saying “My salvation, in at least some part, depends on what I do.”.  Then, consider these words from God through the Old Testament writer Isaiah “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6).  Those words are a sobering reminder that not one thing which we do is free from the stain of sin.

God’s demand is that each one of us is perfect (Matthew 5:48) and not a one of us meets that standard!  Because we fall short of God’s standard of perfection (“righteousness” in our verse for this week), our (and all people’s) only hope of heaven is relying on God’s grace in Jesus as our Savior.  That grace caused God to sacrifice Jesus to pay for each of your sins, my sins and the sins of every single person who has lived, is living or will live.

Think of a situation where you had only one hope of getting out of a trying or difficult predicament.  Would you say to the person who was there to help you or think to yourself “I’m going to get out of this on my own.”?  I highly doubt that you would take such a foolish stance.  Sadly many people arrogantly or ignorantly take such an approach to their spiritual life.  They look at themselves as “good” people or at least in the top 50% of people.

With all of this background, please go back and reread our verse for this week.  Prayerfully you now see that each of us has in one way or another set aside the grace of God. 

Ask the Lord to forgive you and rid you of any hint of your salvation relying on you or anything you do.  Then fling yourself onto the grace of God and fully and completely rely on God and his grace alone!

Posted by Joel Gaertner

Rev. Joel Gaertner is The Lutheran Home Association Vice President of Ministry and National Director of Jesus Cares Ministries (JCM). He provides spiritual guidance to our entire organization and develops and guides JCM programs in congregations. Pastor Gaertner and his wife, LuAnn, live in Cudahy, Wis., and have two adult children. Outside work, he enjoys golf, walking and watching just about any sporting event, especially the Green Bay Packers.

Tags: devotion