A few weeks ago, my family drove home late one evening after enjoying a show at the famous Fox Theatre. My GPS was providing navigation through downtown Atlanta. As I sat at the red light, preparing to turn left based on the GPS direction, I noticed a partially peeled-off detour sign for the interstate that pointed me to go straight. Without much time to process, I ignored the GPS and opted to go straight.
A few blocks down the road, I saw a similar detour sign with an arrow pointing further in the same direction. After a few minutes, the signs were no more, and my GPS kindly encouraged me to make a U-turn and get back on its course. Needless to say, the detour signs were old, wrong, and led me down the wrong road.
This experience is similar to what we read in Galatians. Paul has given them clear instructions on the Gospel and verified they heard the accurate message of hope in Christ. Sadly, like the detour sign, they had given credence to false teachers who manipulated the Gospel and added rules of the Law, like circumcision, to faith. This road was counter to the truth and ultimately would lead them away from Christ.
This is more than a historical lesson that applied to Galatia. We are prone to leave the promise of God and lean on our performance in order to earn favor with God. We are drawn to check off boxes of good behavior and build fences from bad behavior, thinking that this makes us holy.
Galatians 3 helps us better understand the beauty of God’s promise that links back all the way to Abraham and warns against putting our faith in the promise of Moses to save. It is important to wrestle with and understand this to appreciate our faith and better understand the relationship between faith and action.
Our obedience matters. James 2 speaks clearly about the relationship between faith and works. Freedom comes in knowing that our actions do not save us. That is solely through Christ. Instead, our call to radical obedience to Christ is for the purpose of worship and advancing His Kingdom. Rest and seek the peace found in this truth today. You are not saved by good works. You are saved for good works.