But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. (Galatians 5:5 – New International Version)
For we, in Spirit by faith, the hope of righteousness eagerly expect. (Galatians 5:5 – Original Greek word order)
Hmmm… isn’t this interesting? Just after coming down on those who try to get God to like them by “following the rules,” the Apostle Paul writes the words above. He says that trying to make yourself okay with God by keeping God’s laws is the same as cutting yourself off from Christ. (And he is writing to believing Christians!)
Galatians 5:5 is a key verse for our “attempts” to be more like Jesus. We can expect God to do it. We cannot do it—on the contrary, the Spirit does it in us, according to our faith. We wait on God for the righteousness to come. When we try to do it ourselves, we actually push ourselves farther away from Jesus.
Expecting God, awaiting God—one gets the picture of a child staring out the window, looking for UPS to deliver a present from Grandma. She knows it is coming without a doubt, but nothing she does can make it appear. Still, she looks for it, she hopes for it, and when it arrives she is ready by the front door.
The “eagerly expecting” righteousness is our part. The rest is God’s part. I’m expecting this truth will trouble a few who read this. It will seem, perhaps, I am saying we have no responsibility to live righteously. Of course we do—we have free will and must apply that righteousness—in the same way that it is the child’s responsibility to open the package when it comes to the house and put the gift to use.
There is so much righteousness that I am waiting for—a heart that loves my spouse like Jesus loves, wisdom to lead in the home and ministry, strength to face the difficulties of every day life, freedom from my insecurities, patience with my family and extended family, a generosity of spirit and of stuff, a soul that longs to be close to God each moment of the day and night, etc., etc., etc.
This is supernatural. It is the thing that humbles us because we realize our need for Christ. When Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled,” (Matthew 5:6) He was talking about miracles. It’s a miracle when it happens for us. The Apostle Paul knew that. We should, too.
painting by: http://www.katinalowe.com / @katina_arts