“Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law” (Galatians 2.16 NLT).
Some of the Christian leaders in Galatia wanted the gentile Christians to circumcise themselves according to Jewish law. In effect, they were trying to blend their Jewish heritage with their Christian faith. Although Christianity was birthed out of Judaism, they are each their own distinct creation. Jesus warned His disciples that new wine could not be put in old wine skins (Luke 5.37). Jesus is the New Wine, and only He could justify the sins of mankind. Circumcision in itself is not wrong, but it cannot justify the sins of men. Although the Christian leaders were justified by their faith in Jesus Christ, they still wanted to try to control and achieve their holiness in they eyes of people. Circumcision was a major demonstration of obeying law. Today we have other demonstrations of being holy or justified in our Christian culture. Obedience to them does not make us holy. Only faith in Jesus Christ will ever make us holy. Once we wrap our minds and hearts around this truth, Jesus will grow bigger in our eyes, becoming our only lifeline to God. When Jesus is all way see, we will begin to obey Him for the right reasons. We obey Jesus’ commands out of love—not to justify ourselves. We are justified by faith in Him alone.
“Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them’” (John 14.23 NIV).