Have you ever felt tied down, incapacitated, chained? That moment you felt you had no freedom at all (other than the way you felt your teen years)? Religion does that to a person. But there is a different between religion and Christianity.
Paul was emphatic about the Gospel of grace as am I. He had visited at least 4 towns on his first missionary journey (see Acts 13-14) where he established churches and reminded them of the grace and freedom Christ has given (see Galatians). But after a while, those churches went back to the Jewish Law system. Oh, they still believed in Jesus and our need for him but they continued to be chained to the old law.
There are reasons we as humans tend to lean in to this type of living, spiritually speaking. One, it offers a method of measurement. I’m a list guy which means I like knowing what needs to be done, making a list and marking it off as I accomplish things. Religious people like that too. But Paul reminds us it’s not what we do, it’s what Jesus has already DONE!
Another reason we tend to add things to Jesus is it makes us feel superior. As humans, we naturally compare ourselves to others. Spiritually, we are no different. If I can go to “church” more, read the Bible more, memorize more scripture, go on more mission trips, well, you get it. I think I’m better than you. But adding anything to Jesus is not the Gospel of grace. It’s not what we do, it’s what Jesus has already done.
Finally, we like a Jesus-plus gospel because in our small thinking, we believe we control our eternal destiny. It ends up giving us a false sense of comfort. But Paul reminds those churches in Galatians and us today, Jesus plus nothing equals everything! There is no way to work our way into salvation and grace. It is a free gift from God. Jesus has done everything needed to gain a positive spiritual outlook. So, stop working and trying to earn your salvation. Jesus + nothing = everything!
Blessings on your journey.