In verse 3 of today’s passage, the apostle Paul raises a probing question for all who have believed in Jesus Christ for salvation. He says, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” The subtle shift from confidence in Jesus to confidence in the flesh (or self) can all too easily go unnoticed.
When we receive salvation through faith in Jesus and first experience God’s glorious grace and freedom from sin, we know we could never have produced these ourselves. We’re filled with gratitude and awe that He would give us the gift of salvation.
However, as we grow in grace and submit to the disciplines of obedience and service, we begin to accumulate a record of good deeds and Christlike conduct. If we’re not careful, we may begin to put confidence in our own righteousness and obedience instead of the Holy Spirit’s work in our life.
There’s something within our fallen humanity that longs to take credit for the good we do. We’ll readily acknowledge that we are saved by grace, but then we assume that living the Christian life is now up to us—that God did His part by saving us, and now we must do ours. Such thinking elevates us and denies the power of the Spirit in us.
Only when we have a large view of God and a small view of ourselves will we be able to see that we add nothing to our salvation. Nor can we claim credit for the work the Holy Spirit does in and through us as He sanctifies and matures us in Christ.
Bible in One Year: 1 Kings 8-9