What does it mean to frustrate the grace of God?
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 NLT)
I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness is attainable by the law, then Christ hath died in vain. (Galatians 2:21 WBT)
Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily. (Galatians 2:21 MSG)
I do not ignore or nullify the [gracious gift of the] grace of God [His amazing, unmerited favor], for if righteousness comes through [observing] the Law, then Christ died needlessly. [His suffering and death would have had no purpose whatsoever.]” (Galatians 2:21 AMP)
2:20,21 Here, in his own person, the apostle describes the spiritual or hidden life of a believer. The old man is crucified, Ro 6:6, but the new man is living; sin is mortified, and grace is quickened. He has the comforts and the triumphs of grace; yet that grace is not from himself, but from another.
Believers see themselves living in a state of dependence on Christ. Hence it is, that though he lives in the flesh, yet he does not live after the flesh. Those who have true faith, live by that faith; and faith fastens upon Christ’s giving himself for us. He loved me, and gave himself for me. As if the apostle said, The Lord saw me fleeing from him more and more. Such wickedness, error, and ignorance were in my will and understanding, that it was not possible for me to be ransomed by any other means than by such a price. Consider well this price.
Here notice the false faith of many. And their profession is accordingly; they have the form of godliness without the power of it. They think they believe the articles of faith aright, but they are deceived. For to believe in Christ crucified, is not only to believe that he was crucified, but also to believe that I am crucified with him. And this is to know Christ crucified.
Hence we learn what is the nature of grace. God’s grace cannot stand with man’s merit. Grace is no grace unless it is freely given every way. The more simply the believer relies on Christ for every thing, the more devotedly does he walk before Him in all his ordinances and commandments. Christ lives and reigns in him, and he lives here on earth by faith in the Son of God, which works by love, causes obedience, and changes into his holy image. Thus he neither abuses the grace of God, nor makes it in vain. –Matthew Henry Commentary
Do not frustrate the grace of God
Do not consider your salvation to be incomplete. Do not attempt to become acceptable to God through works of religious performance. Jesus Christ rebuked the Pharisees for this.
Then he said, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition.” (Mark 7:9 NLT)
7:1-13 One great design of Christ’s coming was, to set aside the ceremonial law; and to make way for this, he rejects the ceremonies men added to the law of God’s making. Those clean hands and that pure heart which Christ bestows on his disciples, and requires of them, are very different from the outward and superstitious forms of Pharisees of every age. Jesus reproves them for rejecting the commandment of God. It is clear that it is the duty of children, if their parents are poor, to relieve them as far as they are able; and if children deserve to die that curse their parents, much more those that starve them. But if a man conformed to the traditions of the Pharisees, they found a device to free him from the claim of this duty. –Matthew Henry Commentary
And so you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. And this is only one example among many others.” (Mark 7:13 NLT)
(13) Making the word of God of none effect.—Again the Greek word is somewhat more technical, making null and void, cancelling, as in Galatians 3:17.
Through your tradition.—Here the structure of the sentence points to the “tradition” as being the instrument with which the Law was made null and void. In Matthew 15:6 the meaning is slightly different (see Note there).
Many such like things.—Assuming the words “washing of cups and pots,” in Mark 7:8, to be genuine, there is an emphatic scorn expressed in this iteration of the same formula. –Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers
Christians have accepted the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ to cancel the stain of sin and the curse of the law against them. For them to frustrate the grace of God by inventing and enforcing rules, regulations, laws and ordinances is an abomination. What a horrible shame. This reaches to the level of another gospel.