Grace and Freedom - Your Daily Forward Devotional


June 25


Read Galatians 2:19-21 (ESV)

For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but 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. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.



How does the Law hold people captive? Can people also be held captive by sin?


Unfortunately, becoming a Christian doesn’t mean we will never be vulnerable to false teaching. During Paul’s day, Satan was at work through false teachers infiltrating the church. 2,000 years may have passed, but Satan’s strategy is still the same. He seeks to trap us by getting us to believe lies put forth by false teachers. But of course, he has to be crafty about it. Obvious lies are too easy to spot. Rather, since the beginning, Satan has sought to trap us with partial truths or “almost rights.” That’s why Charles Spurgeon once said, “Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.”


Paul wrote his letter to the Galatian churches because he received a report that they were falling victim to false teachers. These false teachers were called Judaizers. Judaizers taught that people need to follow the Mosaic Law in order to be made right with God. For example, they taught that Gentiles needed to become Jewish converts before they could become Christians. Specifically, Judaizers taught that circumcision was necessary for salvation. This resulted in a “Jesus plus works” doctrine. It’s like telling someone to accept Christ’s gift of grace and then try to earn it. It was deceptive because it was “almost right.”


Paul opened his letter to the Galatians with a rebuke: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:6-8).


Paul then went on to remind them that he didn’t make up this gospel but received it directly from Jesus Christ Himself (Galatians 1:11-24). In chapter 2, Paul explained that the apostles were in agreement with Paul’s teaching of the justification of grace alone by faith alone. Acts 15 described the Jerusalem Council in which the apostles and elders of the early church met to deal with this issue. Paul summed up the consensus of the council about how we are justified or made right before God: “Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified” (Galatians 2:16).


In today’s verses, Paul posed a very important question—if we can earn our own salvation, then why did Christ die? His death would have been completely in vain! But those of us who trust in Christ’s work on the cross for our salvation have been “crucified with Christ.” That means our old, sinful nature was put to death and we have new life in Christ! How then are we going to live our new life in Christ? By returning back to a reliance on the law that condemned us in the first place? No! Paul said, “Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith” (Galatians 3:23-26). In other words, now that we can be justified by faith in Christ, we are no longer slaves to the law! Instead, we are sons and daughters of God!


The law could never save. It helps us understand God’s holiness. It shows us how we repeatedly fall short of God’s standards. And it points us to our need for a Savior. But the law itself cannot save. Trying to obey the law in order to be saved even though Christ has set us free from the law is to “submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).


But then, how should we handle this newfound freedom? Since we have thrown off the shackles of the law, should we just live however we want with no regard for personal holiness? Paul addressed the issue of being slaves to sin or in bondage of the flesh as well. He said, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another…but I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:13,16).


Friends, legalism and license are both death traps set by Satan. Salvation is not found in trying to earn it and freedom in Christ is not found by being ruled by our sinful desires. True freedom is found when we belong to Christ, when we understand that we are justified by grace through faith in Christ, and we when we walk in the freedom His Spirit gives us. We are free only through His grace.



Jesus, thank You for the gift of Your amazing grace that justified me and made me right with God. I know that I can never earn this grace but that You freely gave it. You have set me free from the law and from the bondage of sin. Now, help me to walk in Your Spirit and keep me from falling into the death traps of legalism and license. Amen.


~ Pastor Nat Crawford



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8 days ago
Lord Jesus, Your grace was good enough for Saul (Paul) and it is sufficient for me also. You are all I need to satisfy my longing for that feeling of being made free from the stress of sin. Thank You, Lord, for Your written Word which I seek to digest every day as nourishment for the soul.
8 days ago
Thank You Jesus for Your Grace
9 days ago
Enlightening! Thank you
10 days ago
Thank You lord
10 days ago
I am truly enjoying reading your synopsis of the Bible. I wish you would publish them in a book where we can purchase have keep as a daily resource.
1 reply
8 days ago
Hi Douglas. That is a great idea! We do have the Moving Forward Devotional books (4 of them, 3 months each). If you would like more information on these - call 1-800-759-2425. Otherwise - feel free to copy these off as we go along if you want.
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