@salee Thank you so much for your thoughts. They are such a good reminder that without the Gospel our hearts cannot be transformed. If I understand your point correctly, I think there is a subtle but powerful distinction between what you are referencing as ‘Galatianism’ and what Paul says in Philippians 2:12 - “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling”.
Here is my short summary: there is a difference between relying on our works for salvation and working out our salvation. Does that make sense.
If we rely on our works for salvation, we are trusting in our own goodness and not in God’s grace through Jesus.
If we work out our salvation, we strive with everything we have to pursue Jesus and obey Him, but our confidence is not in our own flesh / ability - but in the cross of Jesus Christ.
So we should work out our salvation, but we should not trust in our works for our salvation.
Consider what Paul says in Philippians chapter 3 - he says this very same thing! Paul begins by pointing out that if anyone can boast in their good works - it is him:
“If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.”
Then, Paul moves on to say that he considers his own righteousness as filth compared to glory of knowing Jesus:
“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ”
Then, and this is important, Paul says that he ‘strives’ towards Christ - he exerts effort in working out his salvation. He recognizes and admits that he has not yet achieved his ‘goal’ of being like Jesus, but he strives for it with all of his might.
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
In summary, we should not rely on our works for salvation, but we should work out our salvation.
Is that logical to you? What are your thoughts?
Here is a sermon by Tim Keller that I feel gives a nuanced view of how the Gospel shapes our lives in a way the law does not… After listening, I feel Keller makes some good points about how the Gospel of grace shapes us and helps us work out our salvation when we live in light of it.