The common accusation of those who promote God's grace is that they actually promote sin. Paul dealt with it, Luther dealt with it and we deal with it today. But the accusation itself simply betrays the sinful human mindset. We are still in bondage to the law, or else we could see that it is not the law that brings life, but God through Christ.
For what are we living: to gain more power and wealth and privilege for ourselves and our families? If so, we are living for the law. But if we live for Christ, we serve, love and give of ourselves for the life of the world. Not because we gain anything through that service, but because in Christ we already have all we need.
This is as confounding to us today as it was to the Galatians. Yet it is just as true today as it was then. God, in Christ, doing what we can never do, brings life and hope to our weary world.
Reconciling God, you bring us life and hope through your son Jesus Christ. Help us to hear that message again and again and be turned from sin to life in you alone. In Christ's name we pray. Amen.
Galatians 2:15-21 (NRSV)
15 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners;
16 yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law.
17 But if, in our effort to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have been found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not!
18 But if I build up again the very things that I once tore down, then I demonstrate that I am a transgressor.
19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ;
20 and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
21 I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.