Paul opens his letter to the Galatians with astonishment that they could so quickly turn away from the Gospel he had preached to them into relying on religious works to keep them in God’s favor. Many of the early Christians, including the Apostles, came from a Jewish background, in which they had been taught that keeping the observances of the Law was of the utmost importance in remaining in God’s favor.

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Some of these believers from Jewish background were trying to make the non-Jewish converts believe that keeping the law was necessary to staying in God’s favor. Others, knowing and living in the freedom of the Gospel, yet kept the observances of the law while in the company of other Jewish believers, in order to avoid their criticism.

“We know,” Paul says, “that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the Law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.” Galatians 2:15,16 NLT

Jesus Christ has won God’s favor for all time. God is well pleased with Him, with His perfect righteousness, with His sacrifice for all of mankind, and thus with all those whom He has accepted on the basis of faith. The minute we start trying to earn God’s favor by our own works, we are doomed to failure; the place of God’s favor is already occupied by His Son, and the only way in is through His Son by faith.

It is impossible to please God without faith. No one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law. But God is delighted to save all who call upon the Name of the Lord, those who believe in Jesus Christ and confess Him as their Lord.

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