Learning to walk in freedom: Part 4 Galatians 2:15-21
Today we get into one of the core verses of scripture: Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with the Messiah. I no longer live, but He lives in me.”
Until we understand this transaction, it is hard to move forward in our walk in the Kingdom.
(Galatians 2 continues)
We are Jews by birth and not sinners come out of the Gentiles. However, knowing that a person is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Jesus our Messiah, even we have believed in Jesus—that we may be justified by faith in Jesus and not by the works of the Law; since by the Law no flesh will be justified. [MVP]
Here is the quick two verse summation of Romans 1–5. This is the core of Paul’s message. In this, his first letter preserved, the theological development is clean and simple. God has provided a solution to the real problem—which is that none of us can keep the law and justify ourselves in the eyes of God. Being made right with God by faith in Jesus gives us a wonderful way out.
If we seek justification in the Kingdom of God and then are found guilty because we have abandoned the law, does that mean the Messiah has led us into sin? Absolutely not! Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down. [MVP]
Paul’s basic argument is this: if we believe our faith is what matters, then the legal requirements of the Law really cause problems. We step outside the Law to base our salvation on faith. Resurrecting the Law only proves we are sinners (very quickly, by the way).
How does the Law of Moses affect us now?
The purpose of the Law is to prove guilt. It does not save us. It brings no hope.
It was the Law itself that killed me and freed me from its power, so that I could live for God. [CEV]
For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. [NASB]
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. [NLT]
In the Spirit, this concept is very clear. Putting it into language is very difficult. The Law made it clear to me that I deserved death, because I was a sinner. So, the only real hope I have of serving God and pleasing Him is by dying. I cannot please God as a sinner. I only cease sinning when I die. That seems plain and simple—right? What a conundrum!
I have been crucified with the Messiah. I no longer live, but He lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh is lived by the faith of Jesus who loved me and delivered himself up for me. [MVP]
I have died. This is what baptism symbolizes—but it goes far beyond symbolism. Romans 6: 3–11 gives us Paul’s full argument. Our faith places us in the body of Christ. This body died when the head was killed and rose again when Jesus burst out of the grave. We must recognize our death in Him, with Him, and into His Body.
Faith in or of?
In this passage the translation is normally “the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in Christ”. But we need to remember something. One of the major things my father taught me was what he saw in the Greek grammar of Galatians 2:20
…the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God…
I don’t live by my faith in Jesus, I live by His faith and what He did. Yes, I need faith, but even that is a gift. I can’t produce this powerful faith. All I can do is receive it as it is given to me.It’s a small quibble, but the attitude behind it is important. All we have is given. By grace we are saved by God.
Our faith accepts the righteous penalty for sin—death. Giving Jesus control of our lives legally allows us to gain the benefits of his death on the Cross. We become part of a spiritual super-being who fulfilled all the requirements of the law, paid the penalty of death for us all, and brought us through to the other side alive in the spirit. All believers are included in this new organism of the Messiah—the head, mind, and character of which are Jesus himself.
Paul talks about this when he is mentoring Timothy. He clearly understands that the faith and love belong to Jesus and come from within because of his presence. Look what is found there [emphasis mine].
He has blessed my life with the faith and love that are his and found in him. [I Timothy 1:13&14]
I don’t set the grace of God aside; for if righteousness is possible through the law, then Jesus died for no reason.
Paul wants to be sure we remember that Jesus’ death was absolutely necessary. There was no other way for us to be saved or delivered from ourselves except through the Cross. We were depraved sinners without hope—so out of it and ignorant we weren’t even aware of the problem until He called us. In God’s plan it is necessary for us to learn how bad sin really is.
Of course it is embarrassing that we are so helpless and weak. We have to get over it. Thankfully, God sent us a savior who is wonderful, kind, funny, powerful, and worthy of our trust. We must remember our lives before we were reborn from above. We would have been stuck there if He had not been willing to die for us..
- Learning to Walk in Freedom: Galatians Intro (bergsland.org)
- Learning to Walk in Freedom: Part 1 Galatians 1:1-10 (bergsland.org)
- Learning to Walk in Freedom: Part Two Galatians 1:11-24 (bergsland.org)
- Learning to walk in freedom: Part 3 Galatians 2: 1-14 (bergsland.org)