This is what God gave me today in his word:
Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain–if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith– just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. (Galatians 3:3-7)
Isn’t everybody perfected by their flesh (i.e. their works)? After all, aren’t our works what make us right with God; surely offering up our filthy rags to God will make him see how clean we can make ourselves! Maybe Paul hasn’t seen my flesh, that’s why he’s mistaking it for someone else’s.
Can’t we make ourselves perfect? … After all, we do have this fine, brand new, dirty rag here.
Gaining salvation by works is impossible: If you were to take a shower/bath, you wouldn’t use mud as a ‘water substitute’ now would you? But why not? After all, all you’re doing is making yourself pure through making yourself dirty. Perfectly logical, nothing amiss with it at all. And if you happen to come out worse than you came in, what of it? … The example I just made probably seems very implausible, but this is the very thing Christians are doing every day! Their wiping themselves off with dirty rags and saying their now ‘clean’ and ready for Heaven.
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. (Isaiah 64:6)
Trying now to towel yourself off isn’t an option: the mud dries very fast and the only way to get it off now, is to dump a bucket of actual water over your head (to wash off the mud). Or put it in actual words: if you’ve tried to work your way to Heaven, you’ll have seen how well it fails. Unfortunately, now you have a not-at-all-soothing-mud-coat of your failed attempt. Now the only way to get rid of the mud (which represents not only your failed attempt, but all your sin) can only be washed off by the death and Resurrection of Jesus: by your faith in him.
The point is simply this:
Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Galatians 3:11)
As Christians, we should understand that we are saved by God’s one and only son, Jesus Christ, who gave his life up for us. Who are we to throw away God’s son in favor of our own self? Any works we do, should not be done in an effort to somehow work for our salvation, but should come out of our love for Jesus.
You are Loved!