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Alex Haley, the author of Roots, kept a picture of a turtle in his office–sitting on a fence. He said he kept to remind him of a lesson he learned long ago: If you see a turtle on a fence post, you know he had some help. Haley said, “Any time I start to think, ‘Look how good I am,’ I look at the turtle—me—and realize I did not get here by myself.” What Alex Haley knew about achieving in life applies above all to our relationship with God. The Apostle Paul stressed this in writing Galatians. He said God could never declare people right based on their good efforts. God is too pure and we are too wicked to satisfy God’s righteous remands. So, God sent His Son Jesus to pay our sin debt when He died on the cross. Now God declares us righteous when we accept Jesus as our Savior. Paul put it this way, “A person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. He said, “I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.” Now after we accept Christ as our Savior, our love for Him compels us to do many deeds of kindness. But we do them, not to gain acceptance with God, but because God has graciously accepted us–by faith in His Son.

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