The Galatians were confused. Paul likened it to having been “bewitched.” Someone had come to them with a “new gospel” which apparently made a lot more sense to them — I guess because the gospel they first believed seemed too good to be true — too much blessing for too little cost (at least to them).
But have someone tell them that what began in the Spirit now needed to be perfected by acts of the flesh? Now that made sense! Have someone tell them that Christ’s work on the cross was the down payment but that they would need to make on-going installments of obedience to the law to secure their home in heaven? Ok, now it aligned with their you-don’t-get-something-for-nothing understanding of life. In essence, the Galatians believed they were half bought!
If 2Corinthians is Paul’s most personal letter, Galatians is his most passionate. You read the apostle’s plea to the believers in the churches of Galatia and right from the get go you sense his intensity. He was beside himself that these children in the faith were so quickly deserting the truth of the grace of Christ. Not only were they listening to those who distorted the freedom that was theirs in Christ, but they were buying into it. Somehow it resonated with them. They believed they were half bought and the rest was up to them.
But as I read this morning in Galatians 3 the absurdity of such thinking hits home in a big way.
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.” . . . 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”
(Galatians 3:10, 13 ESV)
The equation is pretty simple: Not abiding by ALL THINGS written in the law = Being cursed. Anything less than complete and perfect obedience can only result in the judgment of a perfect and holy God. Do them all, all the time ,and you’re in. Do most of them most of the time and you’ll have to pay the price–a price you can’t pay. How could they pay even half the curse? What could they possibly think they had to offer to appease even a portion of the wrath of an infinite eternal God?
But the price could be paid by Another – and paid in full! Enter Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, the spotless Lamb of God come into our world to redeem us from the curse of the law. He paid the price, bearing the just wrath of a holy God that we deserved. Not just some of the wrath. Not bearing just some of the curse. But taking on Himself the full judgment due for our sin, paying the full debt demanded because of our disobedience, bearing the whole curse righteously declared for the failure of our best efforts.
Half bought? No way!
For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. (2Corinthians 5:21 ESV)
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you by His poverty might become rich. (2Corinthians 8:9 ESV)
Christ came to redeem. To purchase completely, once for all, men and women out of slavery to sin. To take on Himself the consequences of our sin. To fully empty His account on our behalf. To bear the curse that was ours to bear. Paid in full! That’s what happened at Calvary. That’s what was validated on the third day when He rose from the grave.
It’s a half-baked thought to think we’re half bought. It’s foolishness to somehow think we could anti up the rest of salvation’s price.
We have been justified by grace alone . . . through faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone . . . to the glory of God alone.
And there’s nothing half bought about it!