Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“This only would I learn of you: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the Law or by the hearing of faith? . . . . And He who gives you the Spirit and works miracles among you, does He do it by works of the Law or by the hearing of faith? . . . .It is as it was with Abraham: ‘He believed God, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness.’
Paul, in Galatians 3:2, 5-6
In verse two, Paul asks the Galatian saints if they had been required to perform any ceremonial rites (“works of the Law”) in order to receive God’s Spirit. The obvious answer is “no” because the Galatians knew nothing about the Law of Moses when Paul came preaching to them, and he did not preach the Law to them when he came. He had only preached Christ crucified to them, and being convicted of their sins, they repented and were cleansed by the baptism of the holy Ghost.
In verse five, Paul asks a similar question. When Jesus gave them the Spirit, Paul asks, was the Lord performing any ceremonial rites of the Law? The obvious answer again is “no” because Jesus is in heaven, where the law of Moses never applied to anyone.
Paul’s point is simply this: The ceremonies of the Law of Moses, holy and good during the time they were used by God in Israel, were now nothing. The glory of Christ so far outshone the glory of the Law that the Law was now irrelevant for these Gentiles who believed in Christ.
Now, if the holy works which God gave to Israel were made nothing by the exceeding glory of Christ, then what are we to think of other religious works of men that God never gave to anybody? What are we to reply to those who demand that we submit to Christian baptism? Where did God ever institute that baptism? What are we to think when we are told that we should partake of Christian communion ceremonies? Where did Jesus ever institute that work of law? And when did God ever reveal that He had created another Sabbath day, the Christian Sunday, for men to observe as holy? God never did any of these things; men only said He did.
Do not be afraid to see what you see. And in the purest love of God, reject all earthly religious ceremonies. None of them are from God, and all of them rob men’s souls of the light of Christ. We are made holy by one thing only; namely, the holy Spirit that comes from the bosom of our holy God. No earthly substance can make us holy because no earthly substance is itself holy. Men can put on a good show with lovely robes, stained glass, twinkling chandeliers and sparkling gold and silver, but it is all of the earth. And no earthly substance holds any value for the soul.
You cannot perform ceremonies to enter the kingdom of God, or even to profit your soul once you are in it. In fact, the carrying out of rites and rituals is an affront to the one who suffered and died to set us free from all such law and to enable us to worship God “spiritually and truly”.