Without progress at some point, trying to be healthy, productive, etc. just isn’t enough. While we may understand the fallacy of trying in our everyday lives and see how trying has become the new best in our culture, it’s a harder concept to grasp in our spiritual lives. Yet, realizing that trying isn’t enough in a spiritual sense is of more importance than in any other area of life.
“I tried as hard as possible to follow all the old traditions of my religion.” (Galatians 1:14)
“It is clear that no one can ever be right with God by trying to keep the law. For the scriptures say, ‘It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” (Galatians 3:11)
Paul is telling the Galatians, and us, that trying on its own simply isn’t enough. He’s saying that trying isn’t the means to but is instead the motion of faith. Trying on its own demands perfection; there is no room for mistakes. After declaration of faith in Christ, though, trying becomes the avenue through which we make progress toward perfection; it’s the way we show our faith
“But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:18)
In Galatians 1:15-24, Paul describes how he let time and his actions show he had change. In other words, he didn’t force it. He instead stayed consistent, relied on others, and believed God would cultivate faith.
Only by accepting Christ’s payment for our sins are we saved; this is the only way we’re made right in God’s eyes. In other words, we become God’s people only by faith. We can never earn this relationship by trying hard to earn it.