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Nothing more; Nothing less

Nothing more; Nothing less

Words of Faith 6-3-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Galatians 4

        [8] Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. [9] But now that you know God--or rather are known by God--how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? [10] You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! [11] I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.


       Paul's argument for justification by faith was complete, but the application was not.  He was still greatly concerned.  In fact, Paul was astonished that the Galatians would even consider returning to the slavery of the Law.  It was unthinkable to him.  For so many of the Galatians, it was a matter of swapping one form of slavery for another.

      Before coming to faith in Jesus, the Galatians, in their ignorance of the one true God, were in bondage to false gods such as Zeus and Hermes.  But when they had come to know the Gospel a significant change took place.  They came to know the one true God and to be known by God.  They were free from the bondage of idolatry!  So after such wonderful knowledge, how could the Galatians turn backward to the slavery of legalism?

        But under the influence of the legalists, the Galatians were doing just that.  They had begun to observe the Mosaic calendar with its special days and weekly Sabbaths.  They were observing months or "new moons".  There were also seasonal festivals such as Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles.  They also were observing the special sabbatical years and jubilee years.  

        This was not just a matter of discovering a rich heritage.  The problem was that people observed these special times thinking that they would gain additional merit before God. Paul had already made it clear that works could not be added to faith as grounds for either justification or sanctification.  Any sort of legalistic religion would mean that Paul's efforts had been wasted.  

         We fall into the same trap any time that we think that adding anything to the pure and wonderful grace of God will somehow make us closer to God or earn us special merit.  We can certainly be enriched by observing Hebraic traditions, but they do not add to the grace we have received.  We can even observe all sorts of spiritual disciplines-- fasting, prayer, study, solitude or service-- but none of them will add to the grace of God.  And if we place ourselves under a layer of requirements to feel closer to God, we are denying the very grace that saved us.


         Father God, I celebrate the simple and pure grace of the Lord Jesus.  I cannot add anything to that grace.  I cannot subtract anything from it.  I simply receive it by faith.  In Jesus' Name.


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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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