Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the Cross I cling; naked, come to Thee for dress; helpless, look to Thee for grace; foul, I to the fountain fly; wash me, Savior, or I die.Hymn: Rock of Ages
Sunday, June 26, 2011
The Law told me I did wrong!
Galatians 2:16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.
17 “If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. 19 For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I 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. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
Questions I am often asked are “Why did Jesus need to die?” and “How could His death mean so much—even after all those many years?”
Or “Why is it that Jesus is the only way? I don’t feel that is fair.”
All reasonable questions. I believe that Jesus is the only way to God. That is where I start from. When I read verses like these in Galatians, I get excited because these verses say for me what I find hard to say. The reason for Christ Jesus to die on the Cross so many years ago was to die for my sins. He gave Himself for me.
But, let’s not run into this. Look at Paul’s argument. He was facing real issues from these churches in, what is now, Turkey. Some were saying that anyone could find peace with God by following the laws of Moses and of the Prophets. That would be, what is called: The Law.
Paul started by saying that man is saved by faith in Jesus Christ.
Paul states that the Law pointed the wrong in his life. The law led him to discover his inability to keep the law and its inability to make him righteous. Much like a speed sign reminds us of the current speed limit, the Law points out the fact that if we follow the Law, no one will be justified. We are sinners in need of redemption.
Paul declares that his death to the Law was accomplished by identification with the Cross of Christ--I have been crucified with Christ (v. 20). When we interpret through the law in light of this declaration, I have been crucified with Christ, then we can see that death to the law through the law is accomplished by being identified with the death of Christ.
So, will I make it to Heaven MY WAY? Do I know best? Is my mind is so keen and so well developed that I would know more things than the Creator God? Don’t think so!
No way by Law. No way, on your own. One way by Faith. Do you understand what this Book is talking about? Faith in Jesus Christ… (verse 16)
We need to understand that we are lost. We can’t get to Heaven on our own. Yes, the way to Heaven is very excusive! One way only! Why would it be otherwise? God, in His wisdom made a plan. He knew that Man would fall. He knew that Man would need a Savior. God knew that Man would rebel against His wishes and plan for Mankind. He knew that Man would try every possible way to find the ‘other way’ to Heaven. He also knows that there is no other way into Heaven but by the Blood of Jesus.
Let’s get into agreement here. No matter what religious background you come from, whatever your nationality, whatever you social status, your gender or age, any other grouping you can think of, we are all in the same boat. The way of Salvation is the same for everyone. Every one of us. We are all found short of the Glory of God. We have all sinned. We have all gone after things that are self-centered. The Bible calls that sin.
The Bible teaches us that we may be justified (made right) by Faith in Jesus Christ and not by following any other way or teaching. Yes, it is exclusive. Yes, it is narrow. But it is the only fair way. Jesus’ death on the Cross made it possible for our sins to be covered. Believe me, if there were any other way, God would have found it. Jesus asked His Father for that in the Garden. “If there is any other way, let this cup pass from Me…but not My will be Yours be done.”
Paul states in 17-18, if we restart the Law as a way of salvation, and all the law can do is show us our guilt, then there is no salvation down that road, and we make confusion for all.
Paul confronts Peter, because the Gospel is at stake. Paul shows him that if what he did continues, it would bring ruin to the Gospel. Paul declares that Justification by Faith in Jesus alone because that is the essence of the Gospel. Then he finished with this great personal affirmation, which we too will end on later.
Paul, when he lived and worked in Jerusalem, was part of a group called The Pharisees. A very strict group whose mission in life was to follow ALL of the Law.
There was a wall that divided Man from God. The Law was established to point to the error of our ways. The Law showed us that we could not fulfill the task by ourselves. Paul was THE example of a wall builder. As a Pharisee of all Pharisee. He was trained since early life to follow ALL the rules and regulations. And on that road to Damascus changed all that.
1. He saw that Jesus took His place. Jesus gave Himself for him.
2. that He might take my life from me. That I might die to the Law as a principle of Life. That I might die to the Law as any means of making me right before God—can’t be done.
3. to live His Life through me.
The joy we now can know is that our sins are not only covered but gone—as far as the east is from the West. Gone completely…
Gal 2:20 He gave His life for me. The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me. 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
19-20 Through the law I died to the law…does not mean a physical death. The law would have no more hold on him. Read Roman 6:2, 10-11. So to die to the law means, in this context, to cease to be under the supervision of the law. Now, the New Believer is identified with his new owner, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Christ is not Jesus’ last name. It is a title of Lordship.) Just as a person who becomes a nationalized citizen of the United States has decided to live within the reality created by the events in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, so a person who becomes one with Christ has decided to live within the reality created by the events of the Cross and Jesus’ resurrection.
Paul writes 20 I 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.
The life he now is living—us as well, gets its center from Christ. Christ lives in me—the Hope of Glory. I live my life by Faith in Him and I know that He loves me because He gave HIMSELF FOR ME. That is the great wonderful, crazy love of God!
If there were any other way, Paul says:
21 "I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
But He did not die for nothing! He died for the likes of you and me! So we can live for Him, as He makes His dwelling inside of us. Not fair, you may say? No, it is the only way possible!
Salvation by Faith in Jesus, the Christ!