Class #51: The vainglorious, false teachers who were active at Galatia really thought that they were something! Instead of exhibiting love toward the neighbor, their selfish ambition to please others led them to mercilessly demand obedience to their own laws. When St. Paul says, “Let each one examine his own work, then he will have rejoicing in himself alone and not in another,” he is teaching about a true Christian’s sanctification, as opposed to those who seek their own glory. None of our works grant peace with God, that peace only comes from faith in Jesus Christ. When the Christian seeks to do his work properly so that God is pleased, he will have a good conscience within him.
We are to consider ourselves, not on the basis of man’s approval or in comparison with others, but in accordance with our God-given vocation and on the basis of whether God is pleased, not men. The Small Catechism says, “Consider your place in life according to the Ten Commandments,” and “…that all my doings and life may please you.” Knowing that our meager accomplishments are due to the grace of God in gifting us with everything that we have–our competence comes from God–we ought to think of ourselves in humility.