“So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. . . . I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
The Right Path
In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is told that to get to the Emerald City she must follow the Yellow Brick Road. It’s the only path to the great and powerful Oz. There were obstacles: a wicked witch, flying monkeys, scary woods, fields of poppies. But to leave that path meant never reaching Oz, and never getting home.
We’re faced with a similar situation. God’s Word shows us the only path to heaven: Jesus Christ. It’s the good news that we’re forgiven, crucified with Christ, new men and women because Jesus lived and died in our place. There’s no “good work” that we can do to cause this all to happen or make ourselves right with God. The path to heaven, though, is littered with obstacles: false teachers and teachings; our own sinful natures that lead us to try things that we hope will get us right with God; human reason telling us that there must be something we can do, to name a few. But we must stay on the true path.
Have you been straying from the path? Have you fallen asleep in the poppy fields of your own good works? Paul says if you have, then Jesus’ death means nothing! Adding works to God’s plan rejects God’s love and empties the cross of power. But there is hope in the love and mercy of Jesus Christ, who was crucified for you!
Because of Christ, we can stop asking, “What must I do?” By faith, we ask God to see Christ instead of ourselves. This is reality: we have died to sin and the law, with Christ. Here is the center of our life—our constant comfort, joy, and hope—Jesus Christ. Him for me!
Lord Jesus, help me recognize the immense gift of grace that you have dropped in my lap, through faith—eternal life, freely bought and paid for by your blood, for me! Amen.