Is the work of Christ alone enough for my salvation or is there something extra that I need to contribute? If you have trusted in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone for salvation, this may seem like an easy answer. But for many it is not. Those throughout history who have questioned their faith because of their struggle with sin may not know the answer to this question. And if you have been exposed to false teachers adding to or subtracting from the Gospel, this question may be difficult to answer. This is an old issue. It has plagued the church since its inception. Whether you believe that the church began at Pentecost or that it began much earlier in the Old Testament (Genesis 3:15), the question most prevalent is whether the hope and promise God offers in and through Himself is enough.
In the New Testament we see this grossly displayed throughout the book of Galatians. The Apostle Paul, while away from the churches of Galatia that he planted, was understandably undone by the report he received regarding their spiritual state. Hearing of the infiltration of false teachers among the body of believers was a reason for concern. Even more so, hearing that they had been led away from the one and only Gospel that saves was a reason for distress. That is why he said in Galatians 1:6, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel.”
The Apostle Paul knew what was at stake: their salvation. Knowing this, he did not mince words. There were no pleasantries and he did not greet them as saints. Instead, he addressed his letter to the churches of Galatia, quickly reminding them of the work of Christ. This work alone bought and secured their salvation when He gave Himself to redeem and deliver them. In doing so, he made it clear that the way of salvation is trusting in Christ alone. Anything else is false and insufficient. Yet, the Galatians were now deserters of the one true Gospel and the false teachers who led them astray were accursed. Having heard the Gospel preached to them for many weeks, resulting in trusting that Jesus atoned for their sin, they believed they still needed more. They bought the lie that the finished work of Jesus Christ alone by grace through faith was not enough for their salvation. The false teachers led them to believe that circumcision of the flesh was required too, when in fact God requires the circumcision of the heart instead. Therefore, out of great love for the Gospel message and for the body of Christ, the Apostle Paul wrote this letter to defend the truth, to preserve the Gospel, and to point the Galatians back to Jesus.
As for you and me, is the work of Christ alone enough for our salvation or do we believe that we need Him and more? We need to know that the work of Christ is sufficient to save sinners for all time. Similar to the false teachers in Galatia who were trying to bind and imprison the believers there by convincing them attain to the Law, we need to remember that Christ has already met the standard that is required. He alone obeyed perfectly on our behalf, paid for our sins when He suffered and died on an accursed cross, and conquered death, hell, and Satan when He rose from the grave. The Apostle Paul knew this all too well, as did the writer of the book of Hebrews. In Hebrews 10:12-14 he said, “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” In Christ alone we stand. By any other means, we fall.
Perry German II is a humble servant of Christ who is grateful for the Lord’s gift of salvation. A husband and a father to three daughters, he lives in the Spring/Woodlands area just north of Houston, TX. He enjoys spending time with his family, exercising, sports, writing, and reading. But his greatest joy is boasting in Christ by sharing the Gospel.