By Brooke Holt
“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 righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” (Galatians 2:17-21)
There is something inherent in every one of us that longs to prove our worthiness and earn what we receive. Maybe that drive takes root in early infancy when a child realizes certain behaviors bring joy to parents while other behaviors bring anger, disgust, and even punishment.
Whatever the roots or causes of our desires to prove ourselves and earn favor, the apostle Paul tells us these desires must die so that we may truly live to God through Christ. Paul addresses the Judaizers and their insistence that the Gentile Christians abide by the Jewish law to be acceptable to them and God. Paul insists Christ fulfilled the law and those who look to him are full recipients of grace and freedom from that law. Just as Jesus took the sins of the world upon himself on the cross, so his followers are to die to the law, die to themselves, and live unto him. That means they die to their efforts to uphold the law to be made righteous and earn God’s love and acceptance. A righteousness without Christ is impossible despite the greatest human effort and work.
Paul teaches it is dying to self-effort, performing, and the need to earn that brings the life of Christ. We find salvation when we receive the work of Christ on our behalf; there is no earning salvation. That is what it means to die to the law and live by faith in the Son of God (verse 20).
Are you striving, working, performing, and still seeking to earn righteousness and love? It is exhausting to write and even more exhausting to do. There is another way, the way of Christ, and the way Paul teaches us today. It is the way of confessing you will never be able to uphold the law, and in yourself there is no righteousness. Then, it is asking Jesus to come and cleanse you, to make you holy and righteous through his salvific work on the cross. Receive Christ’s righteousness and release your efforts. That is what it means to die to self and live unto Christ.
Are you ready to rest in him and receive all his gifts? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
The Crucified Life small group Christian study is designed to reflect upon the Seven Last Words of Christ from the cross and what they mean for us today. Walk the road of Calvary with Jesus in order to grow closer to Him. The Crucified Life small group study examines human suffering as it is mirrored in Christ’s suffering on the cross and what His seven last words say to a hurting world. Find out incredible insights into these words as Jesus teaches us, even in death, how we can use our suffering and triumph over it for His glory. Begin your Crucified Life today.
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