Paul concludes his message of Justification by faith in Galatians 3:23-29. The law, like a “custodian” or “guardian,” had been the means of salvation until Christ came. Baptism in Christ sets aside all divisions. “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (v. 28).

Justification is when the Lord immediately forgives you of your sins, when you repent and ask him to save you. Your sins will not be held against you, since the Lord has given you his love of justification. There was a little boy caught in an apartment building, which was on fire. He climbed out on the window ledge and saw his father with his arms outstretched to catch him. The little boy was scared to jump off the ledge because of the distance into his father’s arms. The father and the crowd called out to the little to let go and jump, but the little boy was still to scared to let go and jump. When he felt the heat of the fire, the little boy closed his eyes, let go and fell down to his father’s waiting arms. Your Jesus Christ is standing with his arms outstretched to catch us. Just like the statue of the “Footprints in the Sands” on the west loop of Carthage, Jesus is carrying the man in his arms.

What is faith? One description may be found in Hebrews 11:1-3, “How faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”

Our faith unites us with God. When Alan Paton was translating the New Testament into an island dialect, he found it difficult to find the right word for “faith.” He struggled with the word until one day a native teacher wearily came into his room and sat down on a cane chair. Bringing another cane chair close, he placed his feet on it and used a word in his native language that meant, “I am resting my whole weight here.” Paton immediately had his word for faith. The indigenous people of that island learned that the act of faith was to rest the whole weight of mind and heart on Jesus.

Our faith grasps God’s promises. The law defines sin, however, it defies curing sin as well. God promises forgiveness, but the law fails to produce it. Legally, a bilateral agreement depends on both parties to keep the agreement. The law placed that boundary on all who depended on it for salvation. Break the law, and the whole agreement was shattered. A promise focuses on one person and is not altered by another person’s action. God offers salvation. We may sin, stray or reject God’s promise, but nothing wrecks the promised offer of redemption. Grab hold of that promise, and salvation will translate to assurance. We can be forgiven and cleansed by a loving God of promise.

Faith in Christ delivers righteousness. A little boy asked his father, an Indian chief, about what it was like to be a Christian. The father said that it was like two dogs fighting inside him. There was the evil dog (sin) and the good dog (righteousness). The little boy asked, “Which is winning”? The father answered his little son, “The one I feed the most.” We must ask ourselves, which dog are you feeding the most? Faith in God feeds righteousness.

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J.B. Morris leads the St. Andrews United Methodist Church.