‘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”’ (Gal 3:10).
Not many people in the church today are tempted to think, ‘I need to keep the Old Testament law of circumcision to be saved.’ ‘I need to trust in Jesus and make sure I’m following the Old Testament food laws for God to accept me.’ So it looks like, on the surface, we know that we don’t need to keep the law to be saved.
My fear, though, is that in practice many of us still try to follow the law to be saved. We don’t call it ‘law,’ but that’s what it is. It’s the law of being a good person. Instead of looking to the Old Testament for the criteria required for us to be accepted by God, we determine for ourselves what is required.
Charitable giving, voting patterns, church attendance, bible reading, time in prayer, community involvement, a general sense of how nice we are – all these things and more are used by us to try and ensure we are acceptable to God.
We know we need Jesus. But we think there’s more to it. ‘To be saved, I need to believe in Jesus and…’ Whatever you use to complete that sentence is the law you are trying to be saved by. When you believe Jesus is not the only thing saving you, you are believing that you can save yourself (with some help from Jesus).
If you believe this, you are under a curse. Christians do good works because we are saved, not to earn our salvation. Don’t put any reliance on yourself. Trust in Jesus alone.