The people of Galatia were very confused about how a person becomes righteous or accepted by God.
Initially, they experienced joy because they learned from Paul that righteousness, or God’s acceptance, is received by grace through faith in Jesus.
But eventually, some religious leaders infiltrated their churches telling them that righteousness is achieved through religious activity and morality.
Others told them righteousness was achieved through a combination of religious activity, morality, and faith in Jesus.
You can imagine their confusion.
Their confusion centered on these three questions:
1. Is acceptance with God achieved through religious activity and morality?
2. Is acceptance with God received by grace through faith in Jesus?
3. Or is acceptance with God received through a mixture of law, grace, and faith?
Unfortunately, the confusion of the people within the Galatian churches is the same confusion existing in the minds of many today.
Day after day they wonder if they have done enough good works to gain God’s acceptance.
Some live confidently believing they have, while others live in fear they haven’t.
Some think acceptance with God comes through faith alone, while others believe acceptance with God is a combination of faith plus fulfilling religious expectations and moral standards.
Still others are very confused, not knowing which of these it takes to be accepted by God.
The best place to look to see what it takes to be accepted by God is the Bible.
What does the Bible say?
Is righteousness gained through obedience to the law or a commitment to a religious system and moral standard?
Is righteousness received by grace through faith or is righteousness obtained by a mixture of law, grace, and faith?
In the Bible, the book of Romans provides the answer to these questions.
According to Romans, we become righteous before God by receiving God’s grace.
We receive God’s grace by believing.
In Romans 3:22-25, we find that righteousness, or acceptance with God, is given freely to those who believe, to those who have faith in Jesus.
These verses say:
“This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe...and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ.”
Righteousness is not earned through a commitment to a religious system or obedience to a moral standard such as the law, but righteousness is freely given to us through faith in Jesus alone.
Romans 3:28 says:
“For we maintain, a person is justified by faith apart from observing the law.”
Romans 4:1-8 says,
“However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.”
So, we discover in the Bible, righteousness, or acceptance with God is freely given to us by God through Jesus in grace and is received simply by faith.
This is taken from Chapter 8 of my book The Story of Grace (page 79). To purchase a copy of my book, click below.