When I was a kid the expression was, “Now that’s the $64,000 question!” Nowadays, it’s more commonly, “Now, that’s the Million Dollar question!” Both are sourced in popular game shows. The $64,000 question came from a game show that ran in the ’50’s, and the million dollar question comes from “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”, around since the ’90’s.
But whichever phrase you use, the intent is the same. Either to highlight something that is crucial, a question whose answer is critical to determining different outcomes or, to ask it rhetorically, not really expecting an answer, as in, “Who knows? That’s the million dollar question!”
This morning, I find myself hovering over a million dollar question. The answer to which is critical for our salvation. And the answer to which, far from being unknowable, is clearly known.
Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
(Galatians 3:2-3 ESV)
Okay . . . so maybe there’s three questions there. But the million dollar question is the last question. It’s the crucial question that will set the course for the fruitfulness of our sanctification. It’s the answerable question. We don’t even have to pick from one of four possible answers. It’s a Yes or No question. And the answer is: No!
Having begun by the Spirit, having been born again through the regenerating work of the Third Person of the Triune God, I am now not counting on my own efforts, my own abilities, my own goodness to complete the work of salvation begun in me through faith. The Spirit who made me a new creation in Christ (2Cor. 5:17) is the Spirit who will take that new creation and make it increasingly like Christ (check out Romans 8, in particular verses 2, 4, 9, 11, 14, 16, 26, 29).
Why would I try and finish in the flesh what was begun as an intervention of the Spirit? Why count on works to perfect that which is founded on faith? Now those are $64,000 dollar questions. Beats me.
But I do. So easy to fall back into relying on my own strength, and in my own wisdom. To thinking that it comes down to my goodness apart from His greatness. To taking my cues from others rather than from the Word. To finding my identity in things and roles other than who I really am, a child of God, and what I’m ultimately called to be, a follower of Christ.
How I need to ask, and answer, this million dollar question: Having been born by the Spirit, how will I now grow in Christ?
By the Spirit! Final answer.
And by His grace. And only for His glory.
(Okay . . . so maybe that’s three answers)