Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Galatians 2:15–21 Christ's Law Lives in Us

KEY THOT: Galatians 2:17-21 But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. 

KEY THOT: When Paul asserts that “through the law I died to the law”, he means that he participated in Christ’s death on cross, actualized by his baptism into Christ. All believers are therefore "buried with him through baptism into death...our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with" (Rom. 6:4, 6). The law's power to condemn is applicable to the "old self" with its body of sin. Now that it is done away with in baptism, the Law's power to condemn the person is nullified for it has no power over the "new self" which arises out of the baptism. 

Paul uses the illustration of the law of marriage to explain this truth in Romans 7:2-3: “But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man. So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another.” So when Paul affirms that “I have been crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20), he is declaring his freedom from the condemnation of the law, but not its obligation. Just as the woman who is free from the law of marriage when her husband died so she can remarry, but she is not free from the obligation of the law of marriage after she has remarried: she still cannot commit adultery. The error of hyper-grace teaching is to throw the baby (holy law) away with the dirty bathwater (condemnation).

The best part of the gospel is that we now live in Christ: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (v.20, NKJV). What does it mean to live by faith in the Son of God? What it does not mean is that the law is no longer relevant to our life for Christ himself is the Law-giver. For if there is no law, then there can be no sin since sin by definition is a transgression of the law. And yet Paul acknowledges that despite being “justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners” (v.17). If the law is abolished for believers, then we can never be “found to be sinners.” So, while the law no longer has power to condemn us, it remains God’s holy standards for us to live by—not based on self-efforts but based on our faith in the Son of God who now lives within us. The standards have not changed, but the means to obey it has.

The Son of God obeyed and still obeys the moral Law (Ten Commandments), for it is a reflection of God’s holy character—he cannot do otherwise without contradicting his own divine self-identity. But now He lives in us to help us live according to the same law, which Paul calls the “law of Christ”: “Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). The law of Christ is the law of love, but love is not without moral boundaries. We do not subscribe to the "situational ethics" of Joseph Fletcher where the love-motive can justify any action. In situation ethics, we can even break the law of adultery, murder or theft as long as it is done in the name of love. Situation ethics pushes the meaning of love beyond its moral and divine boundaries and thereby violates God's own holy character as found in the Son of God.  

If we live by faith in the Son of God, we must also live a life consistent with His holy character which is expressed in his moral law (Sermon on the Mount). We can never justify the violations of the Law without also justify the violation of the Law-giver.

May God grant us wisdom and discernment to know truth of God from the lies of the devil. 

Father, You gave us the Law because it reflects Your holy character. We thank You that in Christ, we are free from the law’s condemnation but not the law’s obligation. Help us to know the difference between the two. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to leave your comments.