“To the churches of Galatia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Paul makes sure we understand that the forgiveness of our sins and our rescue out of this present evil age happened “according to the will of God.” It is something that God chose to do. He did not have to forgive us; but he did. Why? Because he loves us and desires to see his purpose fulfilled in us and through us. There is nothing we have done to merit the Lord’s forgiveness. It is purely and solely a matter of grace motivated by his love for us.
It’s no wonder, then, that Paul closes this passage with a doxology in verse 5: “…our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” Our salvation is God’s plan and work. God gets the glory for what happens in and through us, now and forever.
It is imperative that we recognize and fully embrace the power of God’s grace and love in our lives. It is for this reason that Paul in Ephesians prays this for us: “… that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)
Humility and surrender lie at the heart of the Christian faith. We want to be our own saviors; we want to do it ourselves and get the credit. We love personal glory. Messages of self-deliverance are attractive, whether they are religious or secular. The gospel shatters those self-centered myths. It says: You cannot save yourself. You are in a spiritual condition that requires a rescue. The gospel says: God in Jesus provides the deliverance you need, so stop chasing self-rescue. Repent and believe in the true gospel.
Since we are the recipients of God’s amazing grace, it should motivate us to respond in obedience to his commands. That is precisely what Jesus says in John 14.15: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
Since we are the recipients of God’s incredible love, it should motivate us to love others, especially those we find it hard to love. That is precisely what Jesus says in John 15.12: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
Since we are the recipients of God’s gracious forgiveness, it should motivate us to forgive others. That is precisely what Ephesians 4.32 teaches: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Since we are the recipients of God’s gifts, we should use those gifts to help and serve others. That is precisely what I Peter 4.10 teaches: “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”
Don’t be just a recipient of God’s grace and love, be an agent of it. Don’t let God’s love stop with you. He loves you so that you can love others. You receive from God, then you give to others. That is the plan.
Follow the plan.