On Monday we celebrated Labor Day by relaxing and cooking out with friends. Probably you did much the same thing. Labor Day is a celebration of the American Worker and the accomplishments that have come from hard work. In another devotional I might extol the virtues of hard work. The scripture says plenty about working hard and receiving the fruit of our labor. That deals with life in the material, fleshly world. In the spiritual world, things operate differently.

We cannot establish a relationship with God based on our effort. God calls us into a relationship with himself just because he loves us and wants us to be his children.

Receiving his love and forgiveness by inviting Christ into our hearts and committing to love him back is our part. Paul talks about this throughout his letter to the Galatians, a group of Christians who had been convinced that salvation came through observance of religious ritual-our effort. Listen to a personal paraphrase of Galatians 3:2-5, “Answer this question my friends, how did you start your relationship with God, ‘Was it because you were doing everything right?’ Or, ‘Was it because you earned it?’ No, that is foolish! God’s Spirit lives in you making you a child of God because you believed the message about Jesus Christ.” I know there is someone out there saying, “Yeah but, we have to obey God’s commandments.” Our work for God is in response to our relationship with God. Our obedience comes after receiving his mercy and forgiveness. We cannot earn God’s grace, mercy or forgiveness, but we can receive it!