< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Galatians 2: 18-21

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Galatians 2: 18-21

Galatians 2: 18-21“If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. 19For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"

We were infected by sin because of Adam and Eve. This made us unable to keep God’s laws. There is no way we are good enough. Paul tried the law. He told us all about it in the book of Philippians. And he did a better job then most following the law. But, even Paul, strong, spiritual Paul, realized his own helplessness. He could never do for himself what Christ did for all of us.

Martin Luther was the same. He wrote, “If anyone could be saved by monkery, it is I.” He was known for being extremely hard on himself: discipline, penance, self-denial and even self-torture. Until one day he heard a voice from heaven say to him, “The just shall live by faith.”

What Paul and Martin Luther found was, I think, why the book of Galatians is called the Christian’s declaration of freedom. They could dump this incredibly heavy burden and just accept God’s mercy. They were finally free!

It changed Paul so much that the only way he could describe it, was to say he had been crucified with Christ. The man he used to be was dead and now the living power within him was nothing less than Christ Himself.

Paul took God at His Word.

We need to do that. We need to quit thinking, “yea, but”.

“Yea, but God couldn’t possibly love me as much as other people, I’m so much worse!”

“Yea, but once those other people found Christ they just moved forward with lightening speed and sometimes I only take a step or two a day – and worse – half the time those steps are backwards!”

“Yea, but, I don’t think I feel like I’m suppose to.”

You know, CS Lewis wrote, “You don’t really have to feel anything. You just have to believe it.”

Paul’s last sentence, “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.” – is very important. Any time we say you have to do this or that, we are trying to add to what Christ did – and that diminishes it!

If you think you can earn God’s favor, you aren’t trusting in Christ’s work. He died for the forgiveness of our sins so that we may have eternal life with God. Period!

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