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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.’ Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because ‘the righteous will live by faith.’ The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, ‘The person who does these things will live by them.’”—Galatians 3:10–12 (NIV)
Have you ever seen a perfect game in baseball? It’s a rare accomplishment. In baseball’s 150 years, there have only been 23 perfect games. That’s one every 1,000+ games!
Essentially, a perfect game means a pitcher goes the entire game without allowing a baserunner. He retires all who come to the plate without giving up a hit, walk, or error. But if he allows a baserunner, the perfect game is ruined, and his name doesn’t enter the hallowed annals of baseball history.
Why am I talking about this? Well, you lose a perfect game with a single baserunner, and similarly, if you rely on the works of the law for salvation, you lose it after a single transgression. Why? Because God is perfect, the standard is perfection, and anything apart from that disqualifies us from having our names entered into the citizenry of heaven. And sadly, before we were even born, we were disqualified. Romans 5:12 (NLT) tells us, “When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.”
How is this possible? According to theologian John Gill, “All men were naturally and seminally in him (Adam); as he was the common parent of mankind, he had all human nature in him . . . so that they were in him both naturally and federally, and so ‘sinned in him’ and fell with him by his first transgression into condemnation and death.”
But don’t blame Adam for ruining your perfect game. If you’ve been around children, you know we choose sin early in life, thus disqualifying ourselves apart from Adam’s hereditary curse. And because of this, “All who rely on the works of the law are under a curse.” If we rely on ourselves to throw a perfect game, we’re living under a curse we have no power or ability to break free from because “no one who relies on the law is justified before God.”
How great it is for us that WE DON’T HAVE TO because Jesus has already pitched a perfect game on our behalf! He finished the work, and He imputes (ascribes, credits) His perfection onto all who believe in Him. So God doesn’t see our sin, He only sees Jesus!
In His blood, He signs my name into the citizenry of heaven and the annals of eternity. All we need to do is put our faith in Him, because “the righteous will LIVE by faith” both now in Christ and in eternity with Christ.
DIG: Why is it useless to rely on your own works for salvation?
DISCOVER: Why does Paul say that the righteous will live by faith?
DO: What else can you do today but praise? Praise our good and perfect Jesus for pitching a perfect game on our behalf and bringing us into right relationship with God. Spend time in worship, whether in your home, car, or wherever you are!
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.