Sunday, November 11, 2012

Galatians 2

Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ Jesus and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.  Galatians 2:16

The second chapter of Galatians opens with Paul explaining how after he was saved and called by God to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, that he was given a revelation by Christ to go to Jerusalem and present to the Jerusalem church the gospel he was preaching. We have seen in chapter one that Paul was defending his apostleship to the Galatian believers because Judaizers were saying that Paul was not a true apostle and also that in order to be saved the Gentiles had to be circumcised.

Paul writes to the churches in Galatia that he was approved by the Jerusalem church which was lead by James, Peter, and John. He says that the apostles approved the gospel he was preaching as the true gospel. Paul also tells them he was accompanied to Jerusalem by Titus, a gentile, and when a murmur was raised up by some there that Titus should be circumcised, Paul states that "to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so the truth of gospel might be preserved for you. Paul is serious about this - for Gentiles to be circumcised is not according to the truth of the gospel. The division caused by those who wanted to place on the Gentiles a requirement that Christ had eliminated, and between Paul was intense at times. So much so that Paul confronted Peter when Peter came to Antioch and he would eat with the Gentiles (for the Jews it was unlawful to eat with the Gentiles) but when some other disciples from Jerusalem came up to visit, Peter would no longer eat with the Gentiles and this drawing back from the truth of the gospel by Peter even effected Barnabas so that he would not eat with Gentiles either. Paul would not stand for it. Telling Peter that how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews? In essence saying - The Jews were not able to keep the law so why place this requirement on the Gentiles for salvation. Paul gives one of the most important passages in the New Testament to explain why. We see that in Galatians 2:16 (see above)

A person has to believe in Jesus Christ in order to be justified by God. That is the one and only way.
That is the truth of the gospel. To add anything to this is to distort the gospel and it no longer is the gospel. Jesus Christ came to save sinners. Paul says he has died to the law so that he could live to God. The purpose of the law was to first expose us to our sin and second shows us that we could not keep it and third to point us to the fact that we need a Messiah, we need a Savior, and unless we get a Savior, we are lost, and hopelessly so.  The law exposed us to the fact that we were sinners but it did not provide a way out, you had to keep the law, to fail at one point condemned you to the judgement of God.

Paul says that he has been crucified with Christ and that it is no longer he who lives but Christ who lives in him, so that the life he lived in the flesh he lives by the Son of God, who loved him and gave Himself for him.  That is the sanctified life. That is Christian living.  To allow the circumstances and situations of your life to cause you to run to the cross over and over until you see Christ as the Savior He is for you. Until you know that you have to start each day in a place of prayer seeking union with your Savior, trying with all your might to press into Him in His holy fellowship, praying, pleading, crying that He would live through you because you cant live without Him, because you don't want to live without Him. What is the value of a day if you don't know that Jesus is with you, for you?

Bless God that he crucified us with Christ (Rom. 6:6) That we can live in fellowship with Christ, thank God that He has chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless (Eph. 1:4) Paul is saying that you are justified by your faith in the crucified and risen Jesus Christ and in nothing else. Paul is saying that our crucified and risen life is to be lived in our union with Christ - it is a life that fights to be holy. Paul was transformed on the road to Damascus (Acts 9) That is where he was crucified. The Christian, sanctified life we live in union with Christ is a holy life that has it sight, set like flint, on the holy joy and promise that we will gaze upon the face of the risen Lord and not fear. (Matt. 5:8, Rev. 22:4,Heb. 12:14, 2 Cor. 7:1, Eph. 5:5, Rev. 21:27, Eph. 25-27, 1 Cor. 13:12, Ex. 33:20, 2 Chr. 7:14)

Blessings in Christ, our one and only Savior!!

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