In Galatians 2, Paul explains grace to the young church in Galatia. He teaches that “earning” God’s acceptance through good behavior is a dead end. By replacing a focus on self with submission to grace, we place Jesus front and center. This is the rightful position of our Shepherd-King and frees us to worship Him in faith and love.
What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily. (Galations 2:20 MSG)
Want to grow your relationship with God? Pray this: “Jesus, I’m imperfect. I cannot earn righteousness. You paid the penalty for my sins and now offer me forgiveness through your gift of grace. I accept! For my salvation, hope, peace, and joy, it’s not me, it’s you.”