The Gospel Of Crucifixion With Christ
This passage (Galatians 2:11-21) started by Paul explaining why he had challenged Peter to stay true to the gospel and not pull others back to religious legalism. The Law of Moses could never save anybody; it could only define sin and accuse people who broke the law. But when Jesus died, He was punished for all sins and so the Law has no more power to accuse those who are safe in Christ. And more than that, Paul said that he identified so closely with Christ, that His death was Paul’s death too – a deathly unresponsiveness to sin’s demands.
By contrast, Paul’s physical life was being lived out in the power of God, and in the company of Jesus Christ. The life of Jesus was evident in Paul’s body, enabling him to advance the Kingdom of God and sacrifice himself in many ways, joyfully. The grace of God had transformed Paul’s life; there was no reason at all to go back to that guilt-ridden religion, especially as Jesus had loved him so much that He died to save him. To try to earn his way to heaven would be to despise God’s grace, and he could never succeed anyway.
There is a simple choice. Either live a totally perfect life, or trust in Jesus and rely on God’s grace to save you. There is no real contest, logically, because we know that we are prone to sin. Trying to be good can never take away the bad; and if even a tiny bit of bad remains, it will disqualify us from heaven. So, like Paul, we have to live each day trusting that Jesus has taken our sin away, and trusting Him to strengthen and guide us so that we can be His agents of love and light in this dark and wicked world. We may feel unworthy, and we are! But if we trust in Jesus we are counted worthy of being His friend for ever. Tell this good news to your other friends (invite them to see www.crosscheck.org.uk).
© Dr Paul Adams