It’s settled. Jesus came and died. It was not pointless. It was the most intentional thing that ever happened. From eternity past, the inter-Trinitarian conspiracy was contrived that Jesus would come as a sacrifice for a not-yet-created mankind’s sin. Now, the sacrifice has been made; the wrath of God absorbed; and acceptance and forgiveness is offered to all those who come, neglecting their own works as a means to receive the grace of God and instead fall helpless and hopeful on the mercy of God in the sacrifice of Jesus. There is no room for argument. Any contradiction voiced against the plan of God is a personal affront to the design and purpose of an all-wise God.
Paul spent the entire epistle to the Galatians making this point. His rebuttal against the Judaizers was never weak. In making claims that a man must work to earn the favor and acceptance of God, the Judaizers had effectively undermined the very nature of God’s grace in His eternally rooted redemption of mankind and replaced it with a self-constructed merit system. When they proposed that man had the ability of man to save himself, they had negated the death of Jesus on the cross. In purporting that they were good enough to be accepted by God, they had testified of their own certain condemnation as rejecters of the only thing able to save them - grace.
The Galatians had been nearly defrauded into abandoning the grace of God for a lesser gospel that was certainly not a good news message. Now, Paul was about to set down his quill, and as he finished his last sentences, the weight of theological exhaustion squeezes his soul to breathe a personal request. The matter of salvation by works versus salvation by grace alone through faith alone was settled. There would be no need for further revelation on the matter. With a groaning soul, Paul penned, “henceforth, let no man trouble me.” In effect Paul was saying, “It is settled. We are done. Judaizers, you are wrong. Believers, stand fast.”
As he closes this epistle, the Apostle Paul expresses one last desire he has for the believers in Galatia. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” The whole argument of the epistle had been over the nature of works and of true unmerited grace. Now, Paul says, “it is of grace, not of works. Be dominated by the reality of His grace to you.” With his parting word, Paul declared the conclusion of the matter. The Christian is only converted and transformed by the grace of our loving God through Jesus Christ.
We should never lose sight of the truth that God only extends his grace to those who come in faith alone, resting in the work that Jesus accomplished and nothing else. We are not accepted because of our last name, our church membership status, our kind spirit, or any other good works. No, we find peace with God and forgiveness only on account of God’s grace extended to us when we place our faith in the atoning work of Jesus.
Food For Thought: Explain in your own words what is meant by “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”