Monday, January 27, 2014

Galatians 2:15-21 No, not one!

In our passage today, Paul launches into the heart of his argument, which will be the bulk of this letter. The first verses here continue his admonishment of Peter, as he points out the futility of trying to keep the law and requiring circumcision of Gentiles:

“You and I are Jews by birth, not ‘sinners’ like the Gentiles.  Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.” (Galatians 2:15-16 NLT)

Paul was reminding Peter that even the Jewish believers, who prior to Christ would have considered themselves right with God (unlike those “sinners,” the Gentiles), could not be made right by keeping the law. They were, and everyone else is made righteous by faith in Jesus Christ. Not because they could keep the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.

Oh, if we could only just get this deep down in our hearts! Why do we expect others to be able to keep the law when we ourselves can’t! We put legalistic rules on those around us that we ourselves find impossible. I heard Greg Laurie on the radio last week say, “The Christian life isn’t hard - it’s impossible!” We cannot possibly live up to all that we know is good and right. We cannot do this life apart from Christ living it through us on a day-to-day, minute-by-minute basis. We need to be completely regenerated from the inside out. We need to be crucified with Christ:

But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not!  Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down.  For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for 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.  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. (vs. 17-21 NLT)

That last statement is really the heart of the matter: if we could be made righteous by keeping the law, then there was absolutely no reason for Christ to die for us. If there was ANY possibility that someone could actually keep the law, then Christ’s death was a colossal waste! I cannot be good enough! I can’t donate enough money to the church. I can’t say enough prayers or read enough scripture - even going through the entire Bible in a year won’t cut it. While those things are needful to help me grow, they aren’t what save me!

And they don’t make me more right with God than the believer who isn’t tithing or attending the Women’s Bible Study at church. God doesn’t love me more because I sit at my computer in the morning sharing His Word. He loves me with all the love He has and is because I belong to Him through faith in Christ. And even that faith was a gift of God:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV)

He loved me even when I was completely denying Him. He’s the One who loved first! I only love Him because He first loved me. (1 John 4:19) His love is constant, unchanging and unending.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8 ESV)

Amazing love! Amazing grace!  

No comments:

Post a Comment