Relationship with God through faith is your best feature

by Kyle
published August 16, 2014


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Think quickly. What is the one best thing about you?

If your life depended on that one thing being good enough, would you live?

In Galatians 6:11-18, Paul closes his letter to the Galatians with something a little strange. It was normal in the first century to employ what scholars call an amanuensis to transcribe a letter for you. The average person in the first century, much like today, did not have particularly legible writing. In the absence of word processors or typewriters, material intended for audiences (like Paul’s letter to the Galatians) were usually transcribed by a professional.

Paul using an amanuensis was normal. Paul appending something to the end of the letter in his own handwriting was not. However, given the controversy the Judaizers had stirred up around Paul, he found it necessary to add some kind of authentication to the end of his letter. In his last paragraph to the Galatians, Paul figured it best to share the most important and single best thing about him, and he emphasized its importance by writing it down himself.

Remember the whole thrust of the letter to the Galatians is to reiterate the value of faith over works in God’s economy. A sect calling themselves “Christians” — which Bible scholars now refer to as Judaizers — had come to the Galatian church and made some headway in convincing the people there to be circumcised and to follow Jewish dietary and ceremonial practices. They argued that to be saved, people need first to become Jews and do all the attendant things Jews do, i.e. strictly following the Old Testament Law.

Do you think God likes you because of how much you pray or how much of the Bible you know (but don’t apply to your life)? Do you think God — the one who “owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10)” — needs the money you donate? Do you believe you are the only one God could find who can do the things you do wherever you volunteer?

To Paul, none of that has anything to do with the most valuable thing about him. Instead, he says, the best thing about him really has nothing to do with him at all. He has already said everything he does “in the body (he does) by faith in the Son of God, (Galatians 2:20)” so the only thing he has to value in himself is what Christ did rather than what he can do. So, he says, the only thing left to “boast” about is “in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Prayer and Bible study and giving and volunteering and any kind of positive difference you can make in the world are all good, but they should flow out of a relationship with Christ, not replace it. In fact, they can’t. At the end of the day, anything you might try to do on your own, God calls “filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).”

So back to the original question, what is the one best thing about you? If your life depended on that one thing being good enough, would you live? Because your life does depend on that.

The bad news is that anything you do, no matter how great your loved ones or even your enemies think it is, will always fall short. It will never save your life. It won’t even bring you any kind of significant happiness. On the other hand, you will never be disappointed if you continually think of your relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ as the best thing about you. That indescribable affiliation with the creator of the universe, which no one but you on your most honest day can measure, is the only thing that will last and it’s the only thing you can really depend on.

What do you think?

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