God, let the light of the gospel shine into our hearts. Amen.
Galatians 3, 5-11. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, ami worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted him for righteousness. Know ye therefore, that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
All the unregenerated are under the law; and in so far as they hope to be saved, it is through their own works. To some it is a light. to others a grave matter. Some imagine that they keep the law, and feel safe; others strive to keep it, but are wearied and troubled. Some feel sure that they have faith, but say to themselves: What can it profit, when my works are not perfect? Others work like slaves in the effort to believe and to bring forth the fruits of faith. To some the most important thing is to hear, to read, to pray, and to shun the pleasures of the world; others seek to do right and justice and practice mercy. All these lack knowledge of the law’s last demand and true meaning, and all are under the condemnation of the law. Dear friends. “wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread ? and your labor for that which satisfieth not?” How do you read the law? and how do you understand Saint Paul? Look at yourself in the law of love as in a glass, and see that you are a lost and condemned sinner; and let the law drive you to Christ! This is God’s purpose with the law. As long as you are your own savior, either alone or with the help of Christ, you remain under the curse. When you die from yourself, and are quickened in Christ; when you learn to rest on faith, and not on the law; you are blessed with faithful Abraham. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us;” and this redemption belongs to every one that believes. The law has nothing to do with you in the matter of your justification before God. The handwriting that was against you is nailed to the cross ; the tables of stone have disappeared. You are as far from the court of the works of the law, as the east is far from the west. Do you never hereafter bring your works into the work of Christ; but let him alone be and remain your righteousness. Go forward, now, in the Spirit, become ever less in yourself, and let Jesus be your only glory! Then are you a child of Abraham, and inherit his blessing. You are wholly righteous, and there is no condemnation in you. Your conscience is cleansed of dead works to serve the living God. You love him, who loved you first, and you gladly do his will. The holy commandment of the law is written on the tables of your heart. — Hear this, all you who desire to be saved: No man is justified before God by the law. All scripture bears witness that every one who trusts in the works of the law is cursed; all scripture testifies that the just shall live by faith. Come, and incline your heart to this blessed teaching! The Spirit himself shall work it in you; and when you obey him, you shall experience his blessed and mighty power against sin and death and devil.
Merciful God, enlighten us with the gifts of thy Holy Spirit, lead us into the blessed liberty of faith, and bring about mighty works in us, to the glory of thy name. Amen.
Savior! all my sins confessing,
Gracious hear me when I cry;
Give, through faith, the promised blessing,
Freely, fully justify.
By thy holy Spirit’s leading,
Bring me to thy bosom nigh,
In thy blessed footsteps treading,
Soul and body sanctify.
Thus, the days of conflict ended,
In the mansions of the sky,
Whither, Lord, thou art ascended,
With thyself, me glorify.