Posted in Galatians, Mark

The Engine of Grace

“I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly. You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” Galatians 2:20-3:3

The story is told of the man who first heard about the Model T and decided to have a look. He was impressed with the shiny chrome and the leather seats so he paid the asking price, hooked it up to his horse, and started pulling it home. What the man didn’t realize was that the Model T came with its own engine.

The Christian life is not difficult; it’s impossible. Oh, you may be able to polish up the outside a little through mere will power and even impress people, but genuine from the heart Christianity is impossible with man. When Peter asked Jesus who could be saved, he answered frankly: “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27)

Thankfully God designed the Christian life to come with its own engine; His powerful grace. The Galatian Christians knew that they were saved by grace through faith, but then they started living as though it was by works. They were in danger of nullifying the engine of God’s grace by hooking all the demands of Christianity up to their own ability to keep the law. The joy and peace that comes when we share Christ’s light burden and easy yoke (because He does most of the pulling) were quickly disappearing, and their religion was becoming hard, dull, and void of the miraculous power of God.

Paul questions them in verse five, “Does He then, who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?” Whenever our Christianity becomes man centered we are left with what man is able to do, and that’s not much. 

Whenever I fall into the trap the Galatians were falling into I remember the man with the Model T. It sure is easier to sit down and let the engine do the work!